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North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby Blackmoon » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:44 pm

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Kim Jong Il, North Korea's mercurial and enigmatic leader whose iron rule and nuclear ambitions dominated world security fears for more than a decade, has died. He was 69.

Kim's death 17 years after he inherited power from his father was announced Monday by the state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. The country's "Dear Leader" - reputed to have had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet cuisine - was believed to have had diabetes and heart disease.

North Korea has been grooming Kim's third son to take over power from his father in the impoverished nation that celebrates the ruling family with an intense cult of personality.

South Korea put its military on "high alert" and President Lee Myung-bak convened a national security council meeting after the news of Kim's death.

In a "special broadcast" Monday, state media said Kim died of a heart ailment on a train due to a "great mental and physical strain" on Saturday during a "high intensity field inspection."

Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but he had appeared relatively vigorous in photos and video from recent trips to China and Russia and in numerous trips around the country carefully documented by state media.

Kim Jong Il inherited power after his father, revered North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, died in 1994. He had been groomed for 20 years to lead the communist nation founded by his guerrilla fighter-turned-politician father and built according to the principle of "juche," or self-reliance.

In September 2010, Kim Jong Il unveiled his third son, the twenty-something Kim Jong Un, as his successor, putting him in high-ranking posts.

Even with a successor, there had been some fear among North Korean observers of a behind-the-scenes power struggle or nuclear instability upon the elder Kim's death.
Few firm facts are available when it comes to North Korea, one of the most isolated countries in the world, and not much is clear about the man known as the "Dear Leader."

North Korean legend has it that Kim was born on Mount Paekdu, one of Korea's most cherished sites, in 1942, a birth heralded in the heavens by a pair of rainbows and a brilliant new star.

Soviet records, however, indicate he was born in Siberia, in 1941.
Kim Il Sung, who for years fought for independence from Korea's colonial ruler, Japan, from a base in Russia, emerged as a communist leader after returning to Korea in 1945 after Japan was defeated in World War II.

With the peninsula divided between the Soviet-administered north and the U.S.-administered south, Kim rose to power as North Korea's first leader in 1948 while Syngman Rhee became South Korea's first president.

The North invaded the South in 1950, sparking a war that would last three years, kill millions of civilians and leave the peninsula divided by a Demilitarized Zone that today remains one of the world's most heavily fortified.

In the North, Kim Il Sung meshed Stalinist ideology with a cult of personality that encompassed him and his son. Their portraits hang in every building in North Korea and on the lapels of every dutiful North Korean.

Kim Jong Il, a graduate of Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung University, was 33 when his father anointed him his eventual successor.

Even before he took over as leader, there were signs the younger Kim would maintain - and perhaps exceed - his father's hard-line stance.

South Korea has accused Kim of masterminding a 1983 bombing that killed 17 South Korean officials visiting Burma, now known as Myanmar. In 1987, the bombing of a Korean Air Flight killed all 115 people on board; a North Korean agent who confessed to planting the device said Kim ordered the downing of the plane himself.

Kim Jong Il took over after his father died in 1994, eventually taking the posts of chairman of the National Defense Commission, commander of the Korean People's Army and head of the ruling Worker's Party while his father remained as North Korea's "eternal president."

He faithfully carried out his father's policy of "military first," devoting much of the country's scarce resources to its troops - even as his people suffered from a prolonged famine - and built the world's fifth-largest military.

Kim also sought to build up the country's nuclear arms arsenal, which culminated in North Korea's first nuclear test explosion, an underground blast conducted in October 2006. Another test came in 2009.

Alarmed, regional leaders negotiated a disarmament-for-aid pact that the North signed in 2007 and began implementing later that year.

However, the process continues to be stalled, even as diplomats work to restart negotiations.

North Korea, long hampered by sanctions and unable to feed its own people, is desperate for aid. Flooding in the 1990s that destroyed the largely mountainous country's arable land left millions hungry.

Following the famine, the number of North Koreans fleeing the country through China rose dramatically, with many telling tales of hunger, political persecution and rights abuses that officials in Pyongyang emphatically denied.

Kim often blamed the U.S. for his country's troubles and his regime routinely derides Washington-allied South Korea as a "puppet" of the Western superpower.

U.S. President George W. Bush, taking office in 2002, denounced North Korea as a member of an "axis of evil" that also included Iran and Iraq. He later described Kim as a "tyrant" who starved his people so he could build nuclear weapons.

"Look, Kim Jong Il is a dangerous person. He's a man who starves his people. He's got huge concentration camps. And ... there is concern about his capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon," Bush said in 2005.

Kim was an enigmatic leader. But defectors from North Korea describe him as an eloquent and tireless orator, primarily to the military units that form the base of his support.

The world's best glimpse of the man was in 2000, when the liberal South Korean government's conciliatory "sunshine" policy toward the North culminated in the first-ever summit between the two Koreas and followed with unprecedented inter-Korean cooperation.

A second summit was held in 2007 with South Korea's Roh Moo-hyun.

But the thaw in relations drew to a halt in early 2008 when conservative President Lee Myung-bak took office in Seoul pledging to come down hard on communist North Korea.

Disputing accounts that Kim was "peculiar," former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright characterized Kim as intelligent and well-informed, saying the two had wide-ranging discussions during her visits to Pyongyang when Bill Clinton was U.S. president.

"I found him very much on top of his brief," she said.

Kim cut a distinctive, if oft ridiculed, figure. Short and pudgy at 5-foot-3, he wore platform shoes and sported a permed bouffant. His trademark attire of jumpsuits and sunglasses was mocked in such films as "Team America: World Police," a movie populated by puppets that was released in 2004.

Kim was said to have cultivated wide interests, including professional basketball, cars and foreign films. He reportedly produced several North Korean films as well, mostly historical epics with an ideological tinge.

A South Korean film director claimed Kim even kidnapped him and his movie star wife in the late 1970s, spiriting them back to North Korea to make movies for him for a decade before they managed to escape from their North Korean agents during a trip to Austria.

Kim rarely traveled abroad and then only by train because of an alleged fear of flying, once heading all the way by luxury rail car to Moscow, indulging in his taste for fine food along the way.

One account of Kim's lavish lifestyle came from Konstantin Pulikovsky, a former Russian presidential envoy who wrote the book "The Orient Express" about Kim's train trip through Russia in July and August 2001.

Pulikovsky, who accompanied the North Korean leader, said Kim's 16-car private train was stocked with crates of French wine. Live lobsters were delivered in advance to stations.

A Japanese cook later claimed he was Kim's personal sushi chef for a decade, writing that Kim had a wine cellar stocked with 10,000 bottles, and that, in addition to sushi, Kim ate shark's fin soup - a rare delicacy - weekly.

"His banquets often started at midnight and lasted until morning. The longest lasted for four days," the chef, who goes by the pseudonym Kenji Fujimoto, was quoted as saying.

Kim is believed to have curbed his indulgent ways in recent years and looked slimmer in more recent video footage aired by North Korea's state-run broadcaster.

Kim's marital status wasn't clear but he is believed to have married once and had at least three other companions. He had at least three sons with two women, as well as a daughter by a third.

His eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, 38, is believed to have fallen out of favor with his father after he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001 saying he wanted to visit Disney's Tokyo resort.

His two other sons by another woman, Kim Jong Chul and Kim Jong Un, are in their 20s. Their mother reportedly died several years ago.


Story was found here.
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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby Mkall » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:13 am

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This thoroughly startled me upon reading it. I'm very interested to see what's going to happen with his death.
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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby Skyfire77 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:17 am

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Mkall wrote:This thoroughly startled me upon reading it. I'm very interested to see what's going to happen with his death.


In about ten days time, this:



After that? My WAGs:

Scenario #1: His idiot son takes over, lobs a few missiles into the Sea of Japan and/or shells a contested (but uninhabited) island as a "show of force", then we go back to status quo.

Scenario #2: His idiot son takes over, but one or more generals stage a coup. This is bad as they'll do the show of force, but by mobilizing the army and conducting "maneuvers" near the DMZ. At that point the ROK army goes on high alert (Seoul is within canon range of the DMZ) and things get very, very tense. Best case at that point is the US, China and the ROK offer more food and supplies and the DPRK backs down. Worst case:


Scenario #3: His idiot son (who by some accounts just wants to play MMORPGs all day) begins talks with China and the ROK about cessation of hostilities and reunification. With a little luck, by 2015 or so no more DMZ, no more DPRK, happy Koreans.

Scenario #4: His idiot son develops Excedrin Headache #7.62 between now and New Years, and the DPRK generals hand over the country in exchange for sweet "consulting" gigs in China, or a nice Schloss in Luecern. See the result from Scenario #3.

I'd put my money on #1, with 3, 2 and 4 rounding it out.
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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby Heavy B » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:40 am

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nice to see Im not the only one who played Homefront. But lets hope it dosn't go THAT far
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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby RhA » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:55 am

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I've yet to hear some tasty conspiracy psychobabble. Internet, I am dissapoint.
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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby Dead Metal » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:01 am

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From what I've heard of his youngest son, who he's chosen as his successor, he seems very intelligent and friendly.

I guess we'll see in the coming months if he's going to stay true to the character description I have of him and actively work towards improving NK and maybe even making way for Democracy, or if the position of supreme power will corrupt him and he'll end up like his father.

Then again, his Jong Il was also supposedly the "softy" amongst his brothers, actually thinking about it, they share almost the exact same interests....
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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby dinogeist » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:13 pm

I saw this on the news today.

what puzzles me the most is why the 3rd son is gonna become the leader & not the 2nd nor 1st son.

why the 3rd son? did something happen to the 2nd son & first son?
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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby Burn » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:04 pm

Tidalwavex wrote:I saw this on the news today.

what puzzles me the most is why the 3rd son is gonna become the leader & not the 2nd nor 1st son.

why the 3rd son? did something happen to the 2nd son & first son?


First one went to Disney in Japan. That didn't go down too well.

Second one was apparently too girly.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jpmoore/meet-kim-jong-ils-sons
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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby RhA » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:03 am

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Burn wrote:
Tidalwavex wrote:I saw this on the news today.

what puzzles me the most is why the 3rd son is gonna become the leader & not the 2nd nor 1st son.

why the 3rd son? did something happen to the 2nd son & first son?


First one went to Disney in Japan. That didn't go down too well.

Second one was apparently too girly.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jpmoore/meet-kim-jong-ils-sons


I thought it was something about the third guy being better at baseball.
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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby cotss2012 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:59 am

This is the perfect opportunity for the US, Japan, and South Korea to come in and solve this problem forever. Too bad we won't.

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Re: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

Postby Blackmoon » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:22 am

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Exclusive: North Korea's military to share power with Kim's heir

BEIJING (Reuters) - North Korea will shift to collective rule from a strongman dictatorship after last week's death of Kim Jong-il, although his untested young son will be at the head of the ruling coterie, a source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said.

The source added that the military, which is trying to develop a nuclear arsenal, has pledged allegiance to the untested Kim Jong-un, who takes over the family dynasty that has ruled North Korea since it was founded after World War Two.

The source declined to be identified but has correctly predicted events in the past, telling Reuters about the North's first nuclear test in 2006 before it took place.

The comments are the first signal that North Korea is following a course that many analysts have anticipated -- it will be governed by a group of people for the first time since it was founded in 1948.

Both Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung were all-powerful, authoritarian rulers of the isolated state.

The situation in North Korea appeared stable after the military gave its backing to Kim Jong-un, the source said.

"It's very unlikely," the source said when asked about the possibility of a military coup. "The military has pledged allegiance to Kim Jong-un."

North Korea's collective leadership will include Kim Jong-un, his uncle and the military, the source said.

Jang Song-thaek, 65, brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il and the younger Kim's uncle, is seen as the power behind the throne along with his wife Kim Kyong-hui, Kim Jong-il's sister. So too is Ri Yong-ho, the rising star of the North's military and currently its most senior general.

The younger Kim, who is in his late 20s, has his own supporters but is not strong enough to consolidate power, analysts said.

"I know that he's been able to build a group of supporters around himself who are of his generation," said Koh Yu-hwan, president of the Korean Association of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

"So it is not entirely elders in their 70s, plus some like Jang in their 60s, who are backing him. These young backers will be emerging fairly soon."

Koh said the coterie was put in place by Kim Jong-il before he died. "The relative calm seen these few days shows it's been effective. If things were not running smoothly, then we'd have seen a longer period of 'rule by mummy', with Kim Jong-il being faked as still being alive."

He said the younger Kim would accept the set-up, for now. "Considering the tradition of strongarm rule by his father and grandfather, things can't be easy for him," he said.

"REGIME SURVIVAL"

Ralph Cossa, an authority on North Korea and president of the U.S. think tank Pacific Forum CSIS, said it made sense that the ruling group would stick together.

"All have a vested interest in regime survival," he said. "Their own personal safety and survival is inextricably tied to regime survival and Kim Jong-un is the manifestation of this. I think the regime will remain stable, at least in the near-term."

He added in a commentary that the new group may be inclined to reform, but stressed this was far from confirmed.

"Over the long term, there appears to be some hope, primarily emanating from Beijing, that Kim Jong-un will take North Korea down the path of Chinese-style reform, apparently based on the belief that Jang is or will be a 'reformer'."

"Who knows, this may be true. While this could relieve the suffering of the North Korean people over time, it will do little to promote the cause of denuclearization, however."

The high-level source also said North Korea test-fired a missile on Monday to warn the United States not to make any moves against it. Pyongyang however had no immediate plans for further tests, barring an escalation of tensions.

"With the missile test, (North) Korea wanted to deliver the message that they have the ability to protect themselves," the source said.

"But (North) Korea is unlikely to conduct a nuclear test in the near future unless provoked" by the United States and South Korea, the source said.

The unpredictable North's nuclear program has been a nagging source of tension for the international community.

Pyongyang carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, and has quit six-party talks with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia on abandoning its nuclear program and returning to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The high-level source also said Beijing was only notified of Kim's death earlier on Monday, the same day North Korean state television broadcast the news. Kim died on Saturday.

A leading South Korean newspaper reported on Wednesday China learned of Kim's death soon after it occurred.

China has given no official comment or even hints suggesting it was told of Kim's death before the public announcement.

Beijing, the North's closest ally and biggest provider of aid, has pulled out the stops to support the younger Kim.

The government has invited him to visit and, in an unusual gesture, President Hu Jintao and Vice-President Xi Jinping also visited the hermit state's embassy in Beijing to express their condolences. Roads leading to the embassy were blocked.

Mainly, the prospect of instability on its northeastern border worries China and it sees the younger Kim and his coterie as the best prospect for keeping North Korea on an even keel.

North Korea has been pressed by China to denuclearize and is willing to do so on condition that North and South Korea, the United States and China sign an armistice replacing a 1953 ceasefire agreement, the source said.

The two Koreas have been divided for decades and remain technically at war since their 1950-53 conflict ended with an armistice but no peace agreement. The United States backed the South, while China supported the North in that conflict.

Pyongyang is also convinced there are U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea and demands Washington pull them out, the source said.
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