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North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died, as son Kim Jong Un is his successor.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s mercurial and enigmatic longtime leader, has died. He was 69.
Kim’s death was announced Monday by the state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.
Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but he had appeared relatively vigorous in photos and video from recent trips to China and Russia and in numerous trips around the country carefully documented by state media. The communist country’s “Dear Leader” — reputed to have had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet cuisine — was believed to have had diabetes and heart disease.
The news came as North Korea prepared for a hereditary succession. Kim Jong Il inherited power after his father, revered North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, died in 1994. In September 2010, Kim Jong Il unveiled his third son, the twenty-somethingKim Jong Un, as his successor, putting him in high-ranking posts.
Kim Jong Il had been groomed for 20 years to lead the communist nation founded by his guerrilla fighter-turned-politician father and built according to the principle of “juche,” or self-reliance.

Dangerous Dealings: North Korea’s Nuclear Capabilities and the Threat of Export to Iran

On Oct. 9, 2006, North Korea conducted a nuclear test and proclaimed itself a world nuclear power. The explosion yield was less than one kiloton, much less than the first nuclear test of other states and even less than the expected yield of four kilotons that North Korean officials forecast to their Chinese counterparts.
Nonetheless, the test demonstrated Pyongyang’s mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle and at least rudimentary nuclear-weapon design and manufacturing capabilities.
On Feb. 13, North Korea signed a six-party agreement to take initial actions to implement a Sept. 19, 2005 Joint Statement for the eventual abandonment of its nuclear weapons program. While this is welcome news, the road to the abandonment of North Korean nuclear weapons and capabilities will be long and arduous, and success is far from guaranteed. Its nuclear program still poses significant risks to international security, the most serious of which is the export of nuclear materials, expertise or technologies to states such as Iran and the potential for subsequent proliferation to terrorists.
?The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a socialist fatherland of Juche which embodies the idea of and guidance by the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung.
The great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung is the founder of the DPRK and the socialist Korea.
Comrade Kim Il Sung founded the immortal Juche idea, organized and guided an anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle under its banner, created revolutionary tradition, attained the historical cause of the national liberation, and founded the DPRK, built up a solid basis of construction of a sovereign and independent state in the fields of politics, economy, culture and military, and founded the DPRK.
Comrade Kim Il Sung put forward an independent revolutionary line, wisely guided the social revolution and construction at various levels, strengthened and developed the Republic into a people-centered socialist country and a socialist state of independence, self-sustenance, and self-defense.
Comrade Kim Il Sung clarified the fundamental principle of State building and activities, established the most superior state social system and political method, and social management system and method, and provided a firm basis for the prosperous and powerful socialist fatherland and the continuation of the task of completing the Juche revolutionary cause.

Dealing With North Korea: “Diplomatic Warfare” Ahead Arms Control Today » January/February 2009 

U.S. presidents have struggled with the challenges posed by a hostile North Korea since the end of the Korean War and with the dangers of a nuclear North since the mid-1980s. The diplomatic struggle over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program has had many ups and downs, from the near outbreak of a second war in 1994 to an agreement a few months later to end the nuclear program, from the prospect of a visit to Pyongyang by President Bill Clinton in 2000 to the breakdown of the 1994 agreement in 2002 and the North Korean nuclear test in 2006, from limited arrangements over the past few years that have constrained Pyongyang’s plutonium production program to recent disputes over verification.
For the new Obama administration, the imperatives remain the same. Ending the North Korean threat would cut off a global source of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) technology, prevent an erosion of the nonproliferation regime that could trigger the acquisition of such weapons by other countries in East Asia, and provide a political boost to international efforts to stop the spread of dangerous technologies. In a regional context, ending the threat posed by Pyongyang would make U.S. allies and forces safer. How the United States copes with the North Korean challenge could also have important political ramifications for U.S. efforts to maintain close relations with Japan and South Korea, build better ties with China, and keep a strong U.S. presence in the region. Failure could undermine those efforts. Success would bolster them.
Solving the North Korean problem, however, is much more difficult now than eight years ago when the last presidential transition took place. After quadrupling its fissile material stockpile, conducting its first nuclear test, building new missiles, and withdrawing from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Pyongyang has embarked on a gambit to secure better relations with Washington while holding on to its nuclear arsenal. Indeed, that objective seemed feasible to Pyongyang even before the recent U.S. deal with India that essentially traded acceptance of India’s nuclear status for better relations. Pyongyang seeks to trade the aging Yongbyon plutonium-production facility for normal relations while constructing a diplomatic firewall around its nuclear weapons stockpile by insisting on an end to “hostile relations” between the U.S. and North Korea before denuclearization. That strategy is becoming even more painfully apparent with the North’s recent statements that begin to sketch out a new path into the future-that if hostile relations are not ended, its nuclear disarmament will be tied to the disarmament of other nuclear powers in the six-party talks-as well as the need for the verifiable end to the U.S. nuclear umbrella protecting South Korea and reciprocity in ensuring South Korea is denuclearized as well.

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