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Welcome to NTD China News. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is dead today, according to reports from state-run media there. The 69-year-old suffered a heart attack on Saturday. The Chinese regime was Kim's biggest ally. In response to his death, Chinese authorities have pledged continued support of North Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died, according to North Korean state television reports.
Kim, who was 69-years-old, died early on Saturday of a heart attack while on a train journey, it said.
Kim was the unchallenged head of the reclusive state whose economy fell deeper into poverty during his years in power. He aggravated the world by developing a nuclear arms program and an arsenal of missiles aimed to hit neighbors Japan and South Korea.
Those two countries are now on high alert.
1079WD SOUTH KOREA-KIM REAX/PRESIDENT
[Ahn Kwang-chan, Sr. Presidential Secy, National Crisis Management]: (male, Korean)
"The government will be fully prepared while closely monitoring North Korea's situation. Also, it will closely cooperate with related countries and the international community to maintain peace and security in the Korean peninsula."
1087WD JAPAN-PRIME MINISTER
[Yoshihiko Noda, Japan Prime Minister]: (Japanese, male)
"We must make sure that this sudden event does not adversely affect peace and stability on the Korean peninsula."
Kim had been portrayed as a criminal mastermind behind deadly bombings, a jovial dinner host, a comic buffoon in Hollywood movies, and by the administration of former US President George W. Bush as the ruler of "an outpost of tyranny".
He was thought to have suffered a stroke in August 2008.
Kim took over North Korea in 1994 when his father and founder of the reclusive state died.
Kim Jong-il, famed for his bouffant hair-do, platform shoes and jump suits...