Foreign media leads with news from the North

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Foreign media leads with news from the North

Media around the world led with stories about the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il immediately after it was announced by the Korean Central News Agency around noon.

Major media outlets, including CNN, the BBC and NHK, canceled regular programs and geared up special reports on the death and life of the long-time dictator.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal posted lead stories on their Web sites.

Most of the stories concentrated on Kim’s life after succeeding his late father and North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in 1994.

The New York Times reported that during his life, Kim Jong-il was depicted as a “wacky post-cold-war dictator” with high-heeled shoes, oversized glasses and a “bouffant” hairdo.

Yet it also noted Kim’s acute negotiating skills and vast knowledge of current events despite the country’s isolation. Quoting the late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and the senior State Department official Wendy Sherman, the New York Times reported that Kim was surprisingly flexible, smart, engaged and knowledgeable.

NHK reported that the death of Kim came unexpectedly and there were no previous signs of a deterioration in his health.

The Chinese news media, which has the greatest access to North Korea because they are allowed bureaus in Pyongyang, showed clips of North Korean residents mourning on the streets. CCTV, China’s state-run broadcast, reported that the death came as a shock to many North Koreans and showed Pyongyang residents weeping.

Some North Koreans told the news agency they couldn’t hide their extreme sadness.

The foreign media also focused on Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of Kim Jong-il and now his official successor.

The foreign media reported that it is unclear whether the younger Kim can succeed in running North Korea and getting complete control of the military.

AFP reported that the North Korean media has urged the people to follow the younger Kim as their new leader.

The report stressed that North Korea recently has been referring to Kim Jong-un as “general,” boosting his image as a powerful military leader.


By Lee Ho-jeong [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]

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