Kim Jong-il Dead

December 19, 2011


Yikes, I was planning to put a few words up here about the death of Christopher Hitchens but looks like events have taken a rather dramatic turn in my neck of the woods. Breaking news coming from north of the 38th parallel and hitting the rest of the world is that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, died on Saturday, December 17th 2011.

North Korean State TV says Kim Jong-il has died

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died Saturday on a train trip, a tearful state television announcer, dressed in black, reported Monday.

The announcer said that the 69-year old had died of physical and mental over-work on his way to give “field guidance.”

He had suffered a stroke in 2008, but appeared to have recovered.

It’s a tad too early to tell what any of this is going to mean but hopefully we aren’t going to see some crazed, random attack as a propaganda exercise to solidify the position of his son, heir apparent Kim Jong-un. I’ll try to update this post as and when I know more.

Update: KBS World has some info that Kim Jong-il is believed to have died from a heart attack. His body is currently lying in state at Gumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, and his funeral will be held on December 28th.

The South Korean presidential office has convened the National Security Council, and President Lee Myung-bak has also cleared his entire schedule for Monday. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) also issued an emergency alert for its entire military following the news. The JCS said they have not detected any unusual movement from the North Korean military, however, South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command is considering raising its DEFCON or combat alert level from the fourth level to the third.

The alert for the military forces and raising of DEFCON level are apparently fairly routine in such circumstances and also occurred (without incident) when Kim Il-Sung died in 1994. Reports also suggest that the Korean stock market is shitting the bed following the breaking news of the North Korean leader’s demise.



  1. Holding off on reading the rest of your blog until i see the Christopher Hitchens tribute and Kim Jong post. One down, one to go.

  2. Madness. Watching all the over-the-top public mourning in North Korea is surreal and it’s creeping me out.

  3. North Korean defectors now living in the South have described the very similar atmosphere after Kim Il-Sung died in 1994. One guy stated plainly that you’re not allowed not to grieve maniacally in these orchestrated mourning events. Some people would pinch themselves, others would just fake it until they broke some kind of mental threshold and would start wailing and near-convulsing rather convincingly. It is very creepy, and it sounds weird, but there’s a lot at stake for them and their families in that situation. Don’t look like you give a shit, you could wake up the next day in Camp 22.

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