PYONGYANG – Kim Jong-il’s son and heir, Kim Jong-un, and senior officials have been paying their last respects to the late North Korean leader whose body lies in state ahead of his funeral next week, the BBC said.
Kim Jong-il died on Saturday of a heart attack caused by overwork and stress at the age of 69, state media said. Regional powers have voiced fears over the nuclear country’s future course. The US has called on North Korea to pursue a “path of peace”. It has promised to defend regional allies. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US was ready to help the North Korean people and create lasting security on the Korean peninsula.
Kim Jong-il had been in the process of formalising his third son, Kim Jong-un, as his successor. But the transition had not been completed and analysts fear Kim’s death could trigger a period of instability in the internationally isolated nuclear-armed state.
Around the region, countries have been holding urgent talks about what the implications of Kim’s death might be. South Korea, whose military has been put on alert in the wake of Mr Kim’s death, has sent its condolences to the North Korean people. South Korea says no official delegation will be travelling from Seoul to Pyongyang to pay their respects, but that a limited number of prominent people would be allowed to visit the North.