Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

N. Korea Dictator Is Dead at 82 Kim Ruled 46 Years; His Son Is Considered Likely to Succeed Him

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

N. Korea Dictator Is Dead at 82 Kim Ruled 46 Years; His Son Is Considered Likely to Succeed Him

Article excerpt

North Korean ruler Kim Il Sung, the world's longest-ruling Communist leader, has died, North Korea said today.

With a shaking voice, an announcer on South Korea's KBS television said that Kim, 82, died Friday. The cause of death was not given.

The television report cited a North Korean broadcast, the contents of which were confirmed by South Korean officials.

Kim Il Sung ruled North Korea with an iron hand for four decades.

He is the only leader the communist nation has known since its founding in 1948, three years after the Korean peninsula was liberated from Japan's colonial rule.

Kim, referred to as the "Great Leader," was the head of a powerful personality cult and was revered as a godlike figure.

Kim's heir apparent is his first son, Kim Jong Il, 52. If the younger Kim successfully succeeds his father, it would mark the first lineal transfer of power in the communist world.

The announcement of Kim's death came only hours after the start of U.S.-Korean talks in Geneva on resolving the long-running nuclear emergency and two weeks before what was to have been the first meeting of North and South Korea's presidents.

North Korea and the United States began their first talks in more than a year to try to resolve a dispute over North Korea's nuclear program.

The talks had been delayed repeatedly because North Korea refused to allow unimpeded U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities to allay suspicions it is building nuclear weapons. North Korea insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

In a sign that tension was easing, North and South Korea had agreed to hold an unprecedented meeting between their presidents for July 25-27.

According to official versions of Kim's life put out by the North Korean government, he was born Kim Sung Ju on April 15, 1912, in Makyungdae, a village near Pyongyang. It became for North Koreans a shrine known as "the Cradle of the World Revolution. …

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