Kim Jong's death: South Koreans fearful

2011-12-19 07:55
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Kim Jong Il dies

North Korea began the funeral of late leader Kim Jong-Il, Russian media reported from a snowy Pyongyang, as the grieving communist state bolstered his son's status as "great successor".

Seoul - News of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il hit South Koreans like a bolt from the blue on Monday with fears of conflict after it sparked a military alert along the heavily fortified border.

"I'm speechless," Kwak Bo-Ram, 24, an NGO official told AFP. "I'm just shocked and worried at the same time.

"It was always a rumour before, not a confirmed report," she told AFP, referring to occasional rumours which surfaced in recent years.

A weeping black-clad announcer on the North's state television announced that the 69-year-old died of a heart attack while on a train during a field inspection visit.

The television and the official Korean Central News Agency urged people to follow Kim's youngest son and heir apparent Kim Jong-Un, who is in his late 20s.

"I'm worried there will be a war. I thought it wasn't true at first," said Song Bo-Na, 22, a university student.

What now

Kim took over after his own father Kim Il-Sung died in 1994. Despite a stroke in August 2008, photos and TV footage had appeared to show him in better health in recent months.

"I hadn't much imagined what it would be like when Kim Jong-Il died, but now he has. I'm shocked and I'm very interested in what will happen from now on," said housewife Byun Mi-Sook.

Businessman Kim Sung-Il, 49, expressed expectations that North Korea would change after its leader's death.

"The death will be, and should be, the trigger for changes in and out of North Korea," he said.

Another businessman, Ko Jae-Lin, 50, also said he hopes for changes. "I think North Korea will now open up much sooner than speculated before," said Ko.

The North's regime had been resisting pressure from its ally China to free up the state-directed economy for fear of losing control.

Online reaction unrestrained


Relations with the South's conservative government have been frosty since 2008.

University student Kim Lee-Soo, 21, said South Koreans and their government should "stay calm and try to respond appropriately, as this will have a huge influence in the South's stance in international society".

Internet reaction was less restrained.

"No one should pay respects to the dead," said user Lim Jung-Min on the Nate portal.

"I wish myocardial infarction and heart attacks were genetic and run in the family," said another user, Kwon So-Young.

After the announcement, the North declared a period of national mourning from December 17 to 29.

South Korea's government went on emergency footing after the shock news and summoned a meeting of the National Security Council.

North and South Korea have remained technically at war since the three-year Korean conflict ended only in an armistice in 1953.

"Monitoring and security around border areas has been strengthened. We are paying close attention to any movements by the North's military," a defence ministry spokesperson told AFP.
- SAPA
Read more on:    kim jong-il  |  north korea  |  south korea
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
27 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 facts about swimming you didn't know

This will make you want to jump right into the pool.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Snors with a cause - creating awareness of male health
Inspiring: Rock climbing with just one leg
Watch! Skateboarders racing cyclists
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be doing the work and playing the game, but your innovative mind is on a far away planet planning the next big thing....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.