SEOUL Kim Jong Il, the dictator who used fear and isolation to maintain power in North Korea and his nuclear weapons to menace his neighbors and threaten the U.S., has died, North Korean state television reported early Monday.
His death opens a new and potentially dangerous period of transition and instability for North Korea and northeast Asia. Mr. Kim in September 2010 tapped the youngest of his three sons, Kim Jong Eun, to succeed him, and North Korean state television on Monday said the younger Mr. Kim will lead the country.Mr. Kim, who was 69 or 70 years old, according to varying accounts, died during a train ride on Saturday, a weeping television announcer said.
He was believed to have been in ill health since suffering a stroke in 2008, and North Korean media said he experienced an "advanced acute myorcardial infarction," or heart attack.