North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack and will be succeeded by one of his sons, Kim Jong Un, the KCNA state news agency reported. South Korean military sources said Pyongyang conducted a missile test off North Korea’s eastern coast before the state news agency announced that Kim Jong Il had passed away. Japan’s Prime Minister has called a special security meeting of his cabinet to discuss the situation in the region after the death of the North Korea’s leader.
Kim Jong Un, who is expected to head the secretive country after Kim Jong Il died, is virtually unknown outside North Korea, which raises concerns in the region over what political course will follow the new leader. The new North Korean leader is nearing his 30s and was educated in Switzerland. Reportedly, he is Kem Jong Il’s third son.
South Koreans, whose country is still technically at war with the North, expressed mixed feelings following the death of the state leader in Pyongyang. Most South Koreans were surprised by their government’s unpreparedness for the news, while Lee Myung Kak urged his fellow countrymen to focus on their usual business.
The United States and China both said that they will keep close eye on political developments on the Korean peninsula following the news that Kim Jong Il died, while South Korean military is on high alert.