Obama notified of N. Korean leader's death: White House

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Obama notified of N. Korean leader's death: White House

U.S. President Barack Obama has been "notified" of the reported death of North Korea's leader and the White House is consulting with South Korea and Japan on the emergency situation, the White House said Sunday.

"We are closely monitoring reports that Kim Jong-il is dead. The President has been notified, and we are in close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in an emailed statement.

"We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies," he added.

A State Department official earlier said that, "We have seen the press reporting on the death of Kim Jong-il. We will be back in touch (with you) when we have further information to share."
Officials at the Defense Department were not available for immediate comments.

Shortly after the North's state media broke the news at 10 p.m. (Washington time), South Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Han Duck-soo had consultations with U.S. officials by phone, according to embassy officials.

In New York, Kim Sook, Seoul's top envoy in the United Nations, said, "We are trying to collect related information through various channels. For now, we will have to wait and see the South Korean government's response including the National Security Council meeting (in Seoul)."

Kim, 69, died of a heart attack on Saturday (Seoul time) while on a train for a "field guidance" tour, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

The U.S. reportedly planned to have another round of high-level talks with North Korea in Beijing next week but the two sides are expected to indefinitely postpone the meeting, sources said. [Yonhap]

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