Kim Jong-Il, Supreme Leader of North Korea, has died at the age of 69, North Korean State television announced today. The son of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-Il held various positions in his father’s government, taking over as leader after his his father died in 1994. Running North Korea, Kim Jong-Il presided over a dismal economy, concentrating mostly on military buildups to stimulate the economy. In the West, he was primarily known for his nuclear program, which he continued in defiance of an agreement with the U.S.; North Korea’s status as a possible nuclear power, along with Kim Jong-Il’s reputation unreliability, gave him a reputation as a power-mad and dangerous dictator, and he was the main villain in the comedy Team America from the creators of South Park. He was also known for cultivating a personality cult among his people, reminiscent of the cults of Stalin and Mao. Kim Jong-Il’s health has not been good for some time, and he had already been grooming his third son, Kim Jong-Un, as his successor.
Sunday, December 18, 2011