Kim Jong-il, the North Korean Leader has died aged 69.
The official North Korean news agency called KCNA announced the news that Kim Jong-il had died from ‘over work’ today.
Later they elaborated that he had died of severe myocardial infarction and a heart attack at 08:30 local time on Saturday 17th December while on his official train.
Kim Jong-ils death leaves his son, Kim Jong-un, in charge of the isolated state after he was named by Kim Jong-il as his successor last year. Not much is known about him but it is thought that he is in his 20′s and may struggle to unite the military behind him.
North Korea and South Korea are still technically at war and tensions are now running very high as the unexpected news filtered through the Asian region and beyond.
North Korea has in the past been known to use provocation to divert attention away from news events that it doesn’t want covered and South Korea has been put on high alert.
Kim Jong-un inherits a communist country which is isolated from the rest of the world and suffering severe food shortages. Its only real ally is the other communist country China.
Deliberately cut off from the outside world the leadership maintains a vice like grip over the population who have very little contact, knowledge or experience of the world outside their own borders.
Every aspect of the country is state controlled and their pursuit of nuclear armament has put them at the top of the worlds problem list.
Meanwhile the population suffers from daily food shortages, power cuts and a severely lacking infrastructure.
Although many countries around the world are worried about the sudden change in leadership leading to instability in North Korea, perhaps this is a watershed moment where the new leadership decides to start engaging with the outside world again.
We can always hope.