When the Western countries thought about how the North Korean regime would collapse, most of them and their analysts were hoping for the sudden death of its leader. Perhaps the event came a little too soon as Kim Jong Il, leader of North Korea, died at age 69 at a moment when markets do not need any more uncertainty.
On Monday, North Korea state media presented a news report during which an announcer dressed in black reported the 69-year old “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong Il, died on Saturday of physical and mental over-work on his way to give “field guidance”.
North Korea’s official news agency KNCA said the leader died at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday after “an advanced acute myocardial infection, complicated with a serious heart shock”. Kim Jong-un, youngest son of Kim Jong Il, has been named the “great successor” to his father. The news report depicted the former leader as “the outstanding leader of our party, army and people” and showed residents of Pyongyang “writhing in pain” and weeping from the loss.
While, at the present, we don’t know much about Kim Jong-un, the newly appointed leader of North Korea, one thing is for sure, China and the United States will struggle to get North Korea on their good side.
When it comes to politics, everybody seems to be prepared to tackle anything. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda asked for a special security meeting to ensure the country is prepared for the unexpected.
South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, held talks with president Barack Obama regarding the news. Initially, the country had its troops and all government workers on emergency alert, but the president asked people not to be concerned with the matter.
According to analysts, the U.S. is closely monitoring the news on the subject, as Kim Jong Il’s death could have “unsettling ramifications”, as expert Rod Lyon told Reuters. “The reason people are watching closely is not because we expect the North to strike out, it’s because events within North Korea could have unsettling ramifications”.
There are concerns regarding a possible struggle for power within the country, the nuclear disarmament talks with the United States, the safety of South Korea and other countries involved as well as the volatility of the markets.