Shelby: This North Korean state TV reporter cried as she delivered breaking news. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-il has passed away. The network also showed North Koreans crying uncontrollably after the man they call “dear leader” reportedly died of a sudden heart attack Saturday.
But while those inside the communist country are mourning Kim’s death, those outside of North Korea are on high alert.
“I think it is important to keep in mind that North Korea is basically an organized crime family posing as a government.”
Shelby: Kim Jong-il has ruled North Korea since 1994. His father, Kim Il-Sung, ruled for more than forty years before that. Both held absolute power and were known for being ruthless.
Often called the “master manipulator,” Kim Jong-il kept North Korea closed off to the outside world, and all of the information the people there got was tightly controlled by the government.
Kim Jong-il was also known for his unstable behavior and that is what made many people in the world nervous because he was determined to build up the country’s dangerous nuclear weapons program. Many say he held political prisoners in cruel environments, ordered bombings and brainwashed his own people, all to stay in power.
And while Kim lived a life of luxury, the people of North Korea suffered. It is estimated that two to three million died from a severe famine that followed Kim’s rise to power. And recently, what little information that has leaked out of North Korea shows many people still live in poverty.
Experts say instead of investing in his people, Kim Jong-il invested most of the country’s money to build a strong military in order to keep the rest of the world out.
The news of Kim’s death was celebrated in South Korea. Once the North and South were one country, but now there is constant tension between the two.
“What you don’t want right now is an escalation in the peninsula. I think South Korea is playing it right, playing it cool. Yes, you go on military alert but just watch things as they develop and hope that this transition is as stable as possible.”
Shelby: President Obama agreed to help South Korea monitor the situation. The South is a close ally of the U.S. and we have nearly 30,000 troops stationed there.
Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s son, is the man likely to take over. He is young and doesn’t have much experience as a leader.
“He hasn’t met with any world leaders. He is obviously inexperienced. The issue is going to be will the military leadership of North Korea accept that transition now that Kim Jong-il is dead.”
Shelby: So now, all eyes are on the tiny nation with nuclear power to see what happens next.
Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.