“The whole country is seized with bitter grief and sorrow over the big loss.”
So said North Korean state media, reporting on scenes of unrestrained public sadness at the death of long time leader Kim Jong-il – scenes the spontaneity of which may be questioned by critics of the regime.
State media said Kim, aged 69, died of a heart attack while travelling on a train. It is calling his youngest known son Kim Jong-un the “great successor.”
A period of national mourning has been declared from last Saturday when Kim is said to have died to December 29, the day after his funeral will be held.
The North has test-fired a short-range missile on its eastern coast, according to unconfirmed South Korean media reports. It is unclear if this was linked to the death of Kim Jong-il, who ruled North Korea since 1994.