Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kim Jong Il is dead (8x UPDATED)

8th UPDATE: 10:47 p.m. EST (Sunday): Here is the announcement about Kim's death from KCNA
Pyongyang, December 19 (KCNA) -- Leader Kim Jong Il had received medical treatment for his cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases for a long period.
He suffered an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock, on train on December 17, Juche 100 (2011) for a great mental and physical strain caused by his uninterrupted field guidance tour for the building of a thriving nation.
Every possible first-aid measure was taken immediately but he passed away at 08:30 on December 17.
An autopsy on December 18 fully confirmed the diagnosis of his diseases. -0- 
And in an effort to take a moment to grasp the news -- Kim was dead more than 24 hours before the international community learned about it. That speaks volumes about North Korea's ability to keep a lid on any kind of "bad" news.
7th UPDATE: 10:40 p.m. EST (Sunday): One of the themes that will develop in media coverage over the next few days is whether the death of Kim Jong Il can spark a kind of North Korean Spring. Don't count on it, Foreign Policy suggested earlier this year.
The first line of defense, as always, has been information. Although the NATO strikes against Qaddafi's regime brought a string of shrill denunciations in the state-run media, the regime has been all but silent about the Arab uprisings. At the same time, it has moved to tighten border controls in order to prevent "unofficial" news from getting in. 
Echoing the power of the denying the people access to real information, the New York Times added just three months ago that the North Korean propaganda machine began the process of political change long before it needed to be enacted.
A year after Kim Jong-un made his public debut as North Korea’s leader-in-waiting, scenes like that — the old party elite groveling — have become a staple of North Korea’s propagandist media, a crucial tool for the country’s leader, Kim Jong-il, to elevate his son as his successor.
“The obvious message of all this to North Koreans is that Kim Jong-un is now dictating to the top elite,” said Cheong Seong-chang, a North Korea specialist at the Sejong Institute in South Korea. “It reflects the regime’s confidence about his status as successor and about another hereditary succession.” 
6th UPDATE: 10:35 p.m. EST (Sunday): Washington Post reporter Chico Harlan tweets the following: N. announces it will have an official mourning period until Dec. 29. Kim Jong Il's body will be placed at Geumsusan memorial.

5th UPDATE: 10:32 p.m. EST (Sunday): The BBC takes a look at the life of Kim Jong Il.

4th UPDATE: 10:26 p.m. EST (Sunday): Several media note that the state-run North Korean media already have endorsed Kim's son, Kim Jong Un, as his father's successor.

Little is known in the West about Kim Jong Un. Just three days ago, The Telegraph examined how the young man's haircut might tell the world a bit about him.

3rd UPDATE: 10:21 p.m. EST (Sunday): According to the North Korean state television report, Kim passed away Saturday morning. Separately, South Korea reportedly has declared a state of emergency.

2nd UPDATE: 10:16 p.m. EST (Sunday): A BBC reporter who is monitoring North Korean state television notes that it suggests Kim died from fatigue and while on a train. The BBC reporter offered no other details.

1st UPDATE: 10:10 p.m. EST (Sunday): The Associated Press provides additional details of the death of Kim.
Kim Jong Il, North Korea's mercurial and enigmatic leader, has died. He was 69.
Kim's death was announced Monday by the state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.
Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but 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. The leader, reputed to have had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet cuisine, was believed to have had diabetes and heart disease.
ORIGINAL POST: North Korean state media are reporting that Kim Jong Il -- who ruled North Korea with an iron fist -- has died. More later.

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