By Zach Foster
The North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il was announced to have died of a heart attack on a train outside of Pyongyang. The announcement was mournfully made on North Korean state television. His son Kim Jong Un, an armchair general in the Korean People’s Army and a senior member of the Workers Party, was announced as his successor in the same broadcast.
Kim Jong Il was born in 1941 or 1942 in Siberia while his father and dictatorial predecessor, Kim Il Sung, led guerrilla troops in the Red Army and Korean Liberation Army against the Japanese in Manchuria and the northern Korean Peninsula. His political grooming began in the late 1970s and early 1980s as his father was aging. When Kim Il Sung died in 1994, Jong Il became the official successor and held all the highest offices in the land. The combination of the North Korean socialist command economy and his military-first economic policy created a famine that killed over 2 million Koreans. The 2000s were marked by North Korea’s weapons testing and withdrawal from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, as well occasional surprise attacks against South Korean troops that undid any progress made in the Inter-Korean Summit meetings.
The funeral is scheduled to be on December 28th in Pyongyang.