Kim-Jong Il dead at 69, third son set to take helm

[PeterPaul.ca] — Kim Jong-Il’s iron-fist dictatorship over North Korea [DPRK] ended after 17 years on Saturday following a heart attack at the age of 69, the state-run Korean Central News Agency [KCNA] said in an urgent dispatch on Monday. The official announcement came in Pyongyang –- the capital — during the noon hour saying Kim died of a heart attack during a routine inspection.

A female newscaster dressed in a black funeral dress made a tearful, emotional announcement on state television from Pyongyang saying Kim “passed away from a great mental and physical strain” during a train ride just outside Pyongyang at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday as part of a field guidance tour, a statement from the KCNA said.

He “… received medical treatment for his cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases for a long period.” An autopsy on Sunday confirmed the findings, the statement added. South Korea has put their military and police on high alert following the announcement, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Known as the Supreme Leader, Kim served as general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission. He took the helm of the DPRK in July 1994 when his father, known as the “Great Leader” Kim Il-sung, also died of a heart attack. Kim’s father is mentioned in the states constitution as the DPRK’s “Eternal President.”

Kim Jong-Il’s last foreign visit was in August when he visited Russia. He visited China in 2000 at the invitation of the Chinese President and in 2007 hosted then South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun in Pyongyang.

North Korea admitted to having nuclear arms in 2005 and had conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 under the leadership of Kim. Former U.S. President George W. Bush labelled the DPRK as part of an “axis of evil” during his State of the Union address in 2002.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula increased in May 2010 when a multinational investigation found North Korea guilty of sinking a South Korean warship resulting in 46 casualties, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs said on their website.

The DPRK was to mark 100 years since the birth Kim Il-sung in April 2012.

His son, Kim Jong-Un, who is believed to be 29 or 30-years-old, is expected to succeed his father. Early Monday, CNN reported that KCNA had now been referring to him as “the great successor to the revolutionary cause.”

“Let us hope that the North Korean people will soon be freed from the Communist prison in which they have been captive for six decades,” said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney Monday via his Twitter page.

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