State TV breaks the news of Kim Jong Il's death
UPDATE 1000 GMT: Footage of North Koreans grieving over the death of Kim Jong Il
North Korea's reclusive and enigmatic leader, Kim Jong Il, has passed away, according to North Korean state television. He has died at the age of 69. Kim Jong Il succeeded his father, Kim Il Song, in 1994. He will be succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Un.
North Korean media has reported that he died on Saturday.
South Korea's military has been placed in a state of emergency alert, following the death of the North Korean leader.
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, PJ Crowley, has stated on Twitter:
If #NorthKorea were a normal country, the death of #KimJongIl might open the door to a #PyongyangSpring. But it is not a normal country.
The transfer of power to #KimJongUn is underway in #NorthKorea. There may be some provocations for a while as he looks to prove himself.
Given the closed nature of the North Korean state apparatus, and the tight grip on control maintained by Kim Jong Il, it is likely that the succession will go relatively smoothly.
With Kim Jong Un being a relative unknown and untested figure as a leader, it remains to be seen whether he will continue leading the country largely within the status quo that his father has put into place, or whether he will lead North Korea towards a more open society, both internally and in foreign affairs.
One thing is certain: the world will be watching closely in the coming days, weeks, and months, and the new leadership will be tested.
Here is a video report from CNN on the death of Kim Jong Il: