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EU 'monitoring' events after Kim Jong-Il death

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(BRUSSELS) - The European Union reacted cautiously Monday to news of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, saying it was "monitoring the situation closely."

A short statement from a spokesperson of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: "the EU takes note of the announcement by North Korean state media that Kim Jong-Il died during the weekend, probably following a heart attack."

"The EU is monitoring the situation closely and is in contact with its strategic partners with a view to sharing assessments on the possible implications."

State television, which delivered the shock news in a tearful announcement, aired footage from Pyongyang of North Koreans, young and old alike, pounding the ground in a display of abject grief.

Pyongyang is urging people to rally behind the 69-year-old leader's youngest son Jong-Un, describing him as "great successor".

Kim, who built an atomic arms arsenal despite the deaths of hundreds of thousands from hunger, is to be buried on December 28.


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