North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died.
North Korean state-run media reported Monday that Kim died on Saturday around 8:30 a.m. while on a train. The North’s Korean Central Television said he passed away under "great mental and physical strain."
The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said the 69-year-old Kim died of an acute myocardial infarction that triggered a heart attack, and he couldn't be saved despite all possible emergency medical treatment. The KCNA said an autopsy was performed Sunday to confirm the cause of death.
A 232-member funeral committee issued a statement saying the funeral service will be held for the North Korean leader on December 28th. The committee said his body is lying in state at the Gumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang. North Korea has announced an official period of mourning to last through the 29th and will not be accepting any foreign dignitaries.
It is believed Kim suffered a stroke in August 2008, but he appeared healthier in videos and photos from recent trips to China and Russia and other trips he made throughout North Korea. Kim Jong-il ruled the North as the Chairman of the National Defense Commission for 13 years from 1998. He was named the official successor of his father and founder of North Korea Kim Il-sung who died in 1994.
In Seoul, President Lee Myung-bak convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, and canceled his entire schedule for Monday. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) also issued an emergency alert for its entire military following the news of the North Korean leader’s death. The JCS said they have not detected any unusual movement from the North Korean military.
The South Korean Unification Ministry has set up a vice ministerial task force and a situation room to closely monitor the situation.