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North Korean Kim Jong-il Dies; North Korea's Nuclear Program Adds to Worries About Stability of the Korean Peninsula; North Korea Mourns Death of Kim Jong Il; Army Clash With Protesters In Cairo

Aired December 19, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

And we begin with our top story, the death of North Korea's "Dear Leader," Kim Jong-il. We'll also take a closer look at the man tapped at Kim's successor, his son Kim Jong-un, in charge of a nation with a nuclear program while still in his 20s.

We'll also look at the aftermath of a deadly storm that has killed hundreds in the Philippines.

And outrage over a woman's beating in Cairo. It's pulling more protests in Tahrir Square.

North Korea is mourning the death of its "Dear Leader," Kim Jong-il. And we now know the 69-year-old Kim, he passed away suddenly on Saturday. And according to state media, he could not be saved after suffering a heart attack.

A North Korean broadcaster was clearly upset when she made this announcement earlier today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm announcing in the most woeful mind that our great leader Kim Jong-il passed away due to a sudden illness on his way to a field guidance on December 17, 2011.


STOUT: And these rare pictures from inside Pyongyang show how people there are reacting to the news.

Now, Kim Jong-il, he held near God-like status. State media reported he died of overwork after dedicating his life to the people. Footage from Pyongyang shows people openly weeping in the streets.

And here, a live look at the North Korean broadcaster KCNA. It has been airing tributes to the late Kim Jong-il, and sometimes his portrait is shown for minutes at a time.

There on your screen you're looking at live pictures of North Korean state TV.

Now, this is the last known picture of Kim Jong-il. Official state media released it on December the 14th. That was three days before his death. And we cannot be sure of the date it was taken. Kim is said to be inspecting an army firing drill at an undisclosed location.

And Kim's memorial service is set for December the 28th. We can count few nations as friends and allies, but his passing has been felt around the world.

South Korea's president called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss Kim's death. The military was also put on alert.

President Lee Myung-bak said this: "Peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is more important than anything else. It should not be threatened by what has happened."

Japan called an emergency national security meeting. The chief government spokesman expressed condolences, adding, "We wish the sudden news would not affect North Korea negatively."

The U.S. has been in touch with both Japan and South Korea, and the White House says, "We remain committed to stability on the Korean Peninsula and to the freedom and security of our allies."

Now, China is one of North Korea's few supporters, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry expressed deep grief over Kim's passing and pledged to consolidate and develop the friendship between the two countries.

And in Europe, France says it is watching the succession and hoping North Koreans can find freedom. The U.K. says Kim's death could be a turning point.

Kim Jong-il succeeded his father as North Korea's second-ever ruler. And before his death, he was grooming his own youngest son, Kim Jong-un, to succeed him. You can see Kim Jong-un here in the center of this photograph. This is from late last year, and he is believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s. He went to school in Switzerland and North Korea, and he was made a four-star general just last year.

And significantly, North Korea's ruling Workers Party is calling him "The Great Successor," indicating that he is indeed next in line.

CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour traveled to North Korea in 2008, and she says the young Kim Jong-un may have a hard time maintaining the cult-like image of his father and grandfather, nurtured so carefully.

Let's listen.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And even Kim Jong-il was not able to maintain the cult of personality that his own father did, Kim Il-sung. And certainly when Kim Jong-il nominated his young son to take over, people are concerned. He's very young, he hasn't got that much experience that we know of, and he's going to be taking over, we presume, a nuclear nation. We will have to wait and see.

The issue here is whether it will promote more hard-line policies from some of the old guard, whether they will sort of circle the wagons around this young man, and whether it will put a stop to some of these negotiations that were going on with the United States, or whether they will be able to go through nonetheless.


STOUT: Christiane Amanpour there.

Now, many fear that without a smooth transition of power, Kim Jong-il's death could spark instability.

CNN producer Tim Schwarz joins us from CNN Hong Kong, and he joins us now.

And Tim, let's first talk about Kim Jong-un.

When did North Korea and the world first get a glimpse of him?

TIM SCHWARZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, they've not had anything concrete about him until a bit over a year ago, September of last year, at a special party conference where, suddenly, he was tossed onto the North Korean political stage. There had been rumors in the previous year, party workers laying the groundwork that something was going to happen. But it didn't happen officially until a bit over a year ago.

STOUT: And I remember when that story was out, and you were frantically looking for pictures of him and you could only find a picture of him when he was 8 years old. What do we know about his background, his education, and also how he's portrayed in North Korean propaganda?

SCHWARZ: Well, we don't know very much about his background, but we probably know more than most North Koreans. They have received only reports of what he's done in the last one or two years. They know nothing of his parentage.

We know that his mother was a Japanese-born Korean professional dancer who caught -- came to his father's eye after he moved back to North Korea, as many Japanese-Koreans did in the '60s. We know that he studied actually in Switzerland, a very, very different place from North Korea. So he's seen the world in a way that North Koreans themselves haven't done. North Koreans themselves don't know anything about Kim Jong-un either.

What they hear is that he's a very well-educated young man, he's a military genius, he's a technological genius, he's being accepted at the highest levels of the army and the country. And they're being told that he is the ideal person to take over.

STOUT: Yes, he may be a military genius, in the words of the propaganda machine, a four-star general, but he is a political novice. But he has some very powerful guardians. Who are they?

SCHWARZ: Well, you could call them North Korea's power couple. There's Jang Song Thaek, who is married the sister of Kim Jong-il, Kim Kyong-hui, who is herself a four-star general.

These people have been close to Kim Jong-il in the years of his reign and appear to have been given special duties to oversee the young Kim and help him in what's even a hereditary succession like this is still a difficult, difficult part. There are many other long-fested (ph), power interests in North Korea that could try and influence things one way or another. So their task is to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that eventually, Kim Jong-un can grow into his post.

STOUT: Yes. You used the word "infrastructure" before. The infrastructure has been put in place. So should we assume that North Korea will not necessarily change under Kim Jong-un because he's under the influence of these political handlers?

SCHWARZ: Kim Jong-un may be under a certain pressure to make his mark in one way or another. He's got to prove himself to be strong, to be capable, to try and meet the people's needs. He may have one or two initiatives to try and put him in that role, but I don't think we're anywhere near seeing a significant opening up or easing.

The main point of this third dynastic succession is to maintain the power structure, to maintain the way that North Korea is. And so everything has been channeled to what will most contain and make permanent the existing rule of authority in North Korea.

STOUT: And why did this dynastic succession lead to Kim Jong-un and not his two older brothers? Why him?

SCHWARZ: Well, how can we tell? But we know anecdotally, we know that the eldest brother, through a different mother, Kim Jong-nam, seems to have fallen out to favor his party. He doesn't live in Pyongyang most of the time.

He spends his time in Beijing and in Macao. He lives a kind of playboy life, if you like. He came to our notice when he was arrested try to sneak into Japan to visit Disneyland, for example. So he is not considered serious enough to take over the power.

A second son, Kim Jong-chol, people say for various reasons of character, doesn't seem suitable. So Kim Jong-un, we hear, is more like his father in character. There's a touch of the ruthless streak about him, touch of the strongman, and so that's why he's been chosen.

STOUT: And one last question for you. You're a long-time North Korea watcher, you're fluent in Korean. When you heard the news this morning that Kim Jong-il had passed away, were you honestly shocked, were you surprised?

SCHWARZ: I was shocked. I was shocked, as many people were. Everybody knew that Kim Jong-un had been named the successor because his father had had a serious medical emergency in 2008, a serious stroke which left him looking very, very weak.

He seemed to be getting better. He seemed to be stronger. He had been having quite a hectic schedule in the past year. And so everyone knew that Kim Jong-il was there to be groomed as a successor, but they thought he'd have a long time to be groomed like his father. His father was groomed for over two decades.

STOUT: And Kim Jong-un, one year.

SCHWARZ: Kim Jong-un, only one year.

STOUT: Tim Schwarz, it's a pleasure talking with you.

SCHWARZ: Thank you.

STOUT: Thanks very much indeed, Tim.

Now, we will have much more coverage of the death of Kim Jong-il just ahead here on NEWS STREAM, including the evolution of North Korea's nuclear program under his rule and fears surrounding its future development.

And we'll look at the destruction left behind by Tropical Storm Washi in the Philippines and ask why it killed so many people in a country where typhoons are relatively common.


STOUT: Now, funeral services will be held for Kim Jong-il on December the 28th and 29th. The man who ruled North Korea with an iron fist for 17 years, he died on Saturday, apparently of a heart attack. His death was not disclosed for some 48 hours.

You're watching North Koreans reacting to the news their "Dear Leader" is dead. A huge outpouring of emotion there.

And this video is giving us a rare glimpse inside the isolated country. Singing, dancing and other entertainment has been banned until Kim's funeral as North Korea observes nationwide mourning.

And for many in the West, it has been difficult to get a real sense of Kim Jong-il's true personality. In the last hour, we've heard from Bill Richardson, the former governor of the U.S. state of New Mexico, who traveled to North Korea several times on diplomatic missions. And we asked him what he feels have been the biggest misconceptions about the North Korean leader.


BILL RICHARDSON, FMR. NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: -- he was somebody that was out of it, that he wasn't really a functioning person. Every indication I have and every indication that I've spoken to others that have met him is that he was smart as a fox, that he knew exactly what he was doing, that he used nuclear weapons as a chip for getting concessions from the West, food assistance, fuel assistance. That he was somebody that knew his vulnerability physically, that he probably was not going to live much longer, and he started grooming his son, keeping it in the family as his father had done.

He had the support of the North Korean military, and that's what he's trying to give to his son. So the biggest misconception was that he was a guy that didn't know what he was doing. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he used that image of being unpredictable to his advantage.


STOUT: Bill Richardson there.

Now, one of Kim Jong-il's lasting legacies will be the country's nuclear development.

In 1994 -- that's the year Kim came to power -- North Korea agreed to freeze and dismantle its nuclear weapons program. And then four years later, the U.S. and North Korea held the first round of high-level talks about Pyongyang's suspected construction of an underground nuclear facility. And negotiations with North Korea became a back-and-forth of broken promises, with Pyongyang pledging to stop its weapons program in exchange for aid, only to later renege.

Now, in January of 2003, North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. And that April, Pyongyang declared it had nuclear weapons.

Three years later, North Korea claimed it successfully tested a nuclear weapon. But in 2007, Pyongyang agreed to disable its nuclear weapons facilities. The next year, North Korea destroyed a water cooling tower at Yongbyon, the facility where it extracted plutonium for weapons, but progress broke down after that. And in May, 2009, North Korea conducted its second nuclear test.

And North Korea's nuclear program is adding to worries about the stability of the Korean Peninsula.

Let's get deeper into this with CNN's Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence in Washington.

And Chris, what does the death of Kim Jong-il mean for North Korea's nuclear program and international efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, in a lot of ways, this was the scenario that the U.S. military feared. In fact, just this past summer, the officer who runs the U.S. forces in Korea, he warned the United States Senate that Kim Jong-il's death could make North Korea a bigger military threat, or could increase the threat from North Korea's military.

By that, he said -- he explained to us -- he said that Kim, the son, has an imperative to sort of establish his credentials with the military hard- liners in North Korea. And the official said that, combined with the son's youth and inexperience, really increase the likelihood for a miscalculation. And so, the thinking was that in the short term, the son would be less predictable than the father.

As far as the nuclear capability and North Korea's weapons are concerned, a senior defense official told us just in the last six weeks -- he said, look, the North Koreans have told us that they feel one of the reasons that Moammar Gadhafi's regime fell in Libya is because Libya did not keep a hold of its weapons of mass destruction program. And the official said when they're saying something like that, it really calls into question the seriousness of the negotiations to sort of suspend that program.

STOUT: Now, a lot of uncertainty, fear of a miscalculation, as you put it. What is the U.S. view on restarting talks, on restarting negotiations on Pyongyang's nuclear program at this time?

LAWRENCE: Well, that would be an avenue outside the Pentagon, more at the state level or White House level. But we do know that just a -- this really comes at an inopportune time in that the U.S. was preparing to send a mass shipment of food that was expected to restart some of the talks on uranium enrichment in North Korea. So there was sort of a deal on the table to give food, to restart the talks, but it remains to be seen exactly what happens to that now.

STOUT: And what kind of intel does the U.S. have on the North Korean arsenal? We know that North Korea has conducted nuclear tests, it has conducted missile tests. But what kind of nuclear arsenal does it have?

LAWRENCE: Yes. Well, it's not just a nuclear arsenal. We spoke with a defense official very recently who said North Korea has been investing a lot in asymmetrical warfare, looking for the vulnerabilities of potential adversaries and trying to exploit them.

They've got the largest special operations forces in the world and are growing that, even today. And the official said they've also been investing a lot in cyberwarfare. He felt that there had already been some attempts at attacks on U.S. military and South Korean forces through cyberattacks, and so there would be -- there was going to be a heavy investment on the U.S. side in trying to counter that from what they expected to be an increased emphasis in North Korea on cyberwarfare.

STOUT: Yes. In fact, earlier today, the South Koreans issued an alert on cyberwarfare earlier today.

Chris Lawrence, joining us live from the Pentagon.

Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now, you are watching NEWS STREAM, live from Hong Kong. And in just a moment, heartbreaking scenes and a trail of destruction in the Philippines. We take a look at the aftermath of Tropical Storm Washi and why so many were unprepared.


STOUT: An outpouring of grief in North Korea following the death of its longtime leader, Kim Jong-il. And according to state media, he died of a heart attack while traveling on a train on Saturday. He was 69 years old. His funeral will reportedly be held on December the 28th.

Now, we will continue to follow the aftermath of Kim Jong-il's death, but first we want to go to the Philippines next. And aid agencies, they are rushing to deliver food, blankets and body bags in the wake of Tropical Storm Washi.

At least 650 people have died from flash flooding and landslides in the southern Mindanao region. That's according to the Red Cross.

It says that hundreds are still missing after entire villages were swept away. And survivors in the hardest-hit areas are now facing a daunting cleanup, with no electricity or clean drinking water.

President Benigno Aquino plans to visit the region on Tuesday. And authorities say more than 100,000 people are now displaced.

The Philippines is a common target for Typhoons, but why did this tropical storm kill so many people? Now, one reason could be where it hit. Most typhoons, they swing through the north of the country, but Tropical Storm Washi hit the south, on the island of Mindanao.


STOUT: It is the end of an era for North Korea, and ahead on NEWS STREAM, North Koreans mourn the death of their longtime leader and face an uncertain future.

And anger in Egypt. After a weekend of violence, protesters and military troops face off again.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Our top story on News Stream, the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Now let's take a look at Korean State TV right now. We'll bring up KCNA. We've been monitoring the station all day. And we can see and hear a military band in North Korean playing somber music. Let's listen in.

Now that has shifted to more uplifting fare there, but we are listening to live audio and video coming in from North Korean state TV KCNA. Reaction there on television North Korea to the death of its leader Kim Jong Il. We'll bring you more on that in a moment, including China's reaction to the news and how it has moved the world stock markets.

But first let's bring you up to date with some of the stories we're following this hour. Now fighting has broken out again in Cairo's Tahrir Square. It is the fourth straight day of clashes between protesters and government forces. Now Egypt's military government says it has instructed forces not to use violence against the protesters.

Now Syrian foreign minister Walid Moallem says he has signed an agreement with the Arab League. The protocol is aimed at ending violence between the government and protesters. It's thought that this will now allow monitors from the Arab League inside Syria.

And hope is fading in the search for survivors off the coast of Indonesia after a boat sank over the weekend. As many as 248 people are believed to have been on board. Now 36 people were rescued, but the rest are still missing. And officials say most of those on board were asylum seekers from the Middle East.

And the man who lead the Velvet Revolution has died. Former Czech Republich president Vaclav Havel, he passed away on Sunday. His coffin is now on display in central Prague. Now Havel was a playwright when he was swept up in the opposition and he then later served as president of Czechoslovakia, president of the Czech Republica.

And the last convoy of American forces has left Iraq. Now it crossed over into Kuwait on Sunday morning. The American forces, they leave behind a country in the midst of political turmoil with many Sunni politicians walking out of parliament. The powerful political bloc, it accused Iraqi prime minister Nouri al Maliki of seeking to hoard power.

Now we are following the aftermath of Kim Jong Il's sudden death. Now the North Korean leader reportedly suffered a heart attack on Saturday. And Kim held power for 17 years after his father. And now his youngest son, Kim John Un has been dubbed the great successor, but he is not well known even inside North Korea.

And footage from Korean central television shows the death of the dear leader is hitting people hard inside the reclusive country. Now the mourning is expected to last for at least one week. And Kim's memorial service is set for December 28th.

Now outside of North Korean people are expressing some sadness and a lot of uncertainty.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm shocked. I wonder what's going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He was the only one to have power in North Korea. His death will have a big impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (through translator): I hope the North will become more democratic. I don't want chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think it's a great shame, because we had so many years of cooperation. And it's always been very friendly. I feel very shocked by the news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think Kim's death may have some influence, because every person has different opinions and value systems. So the relationship with China may change. It should have some influence, but I hope it won't be great.


STOUT: Now China is, of course, North Korea's closest ally. And earlier today, the flag at the North Korean embassy in Beijing was lowered to half staff. And Beijing is paying its respects to Kim Jong Il. China's ministry of foreign affairs expressed what it called Beijing's deep grief over the passing of Kim.

Now China's foreign ministry is pledging to help maintain the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. And Stan Grant is standing by in Beijing with more. And Stan, dealing with North Korea, is Beijing likely to continue its policy of stability above everything else?

STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's certainly what they've been saying. And one of the real binds that China has found itself in over the years is the rest of the world has looked to China to exert this special influence that it has over North Korea is that it has never wanted to push North Korea into a corner. It has never wanted to bring North Korea to the point of collapse.

You know, part of China's ongoing rise throughout the region, its economic rise, has been a commitment to stability and a peaceful rise. It's always been a little bit concerned about the unpredictability of North Korea.

Now while the relationship has been very close and spans back decades. At times it has been strained, most notably during the test -- the nuclear test in 2006 and 2009. So China, yes, committed to stability, but at the same time it needs to be able to ensure that North Korea is not backed into a corner.

One of the real concerns that China has is its own borders. We know there are round about 30,000 North Korean refugees inside China. It's a long border, some 800 miles or so. So China is concerned about more refugees coming across onto the China side. So, yes, it does have a stake in the region. The rest of the world is looking to it to be able to exert that influence, but North Korea has always been unpredictable -- Kristie.

STOUT: Your thoughts, Stan, on the transfer of power inside North Korea. The country, it faces a number of huge challenges: economic hardship, food shortages, sanctions, now this political uncertainty. Will succession take place smoothly?

GRANT: It's the big question, isn't it? The big unknown at this point. We don't even know a lot about Kim Jong Un. He is someone who some say is 26, 27, 28 29. We know that he went to school in Switzerland for a couple of years, that he's been exposed to the West. Other than that, not a lot. He's traveled to China with his father to meet China's leaders, to seek their stamp of approval. But there are ongoing concerns about the extent to which he will be able to impose his authority, especially on the generals who have been in power there now for decades.

You know, one of the hallmarks of North Korea, one of the ways its been able -- the leadership has been able to impose its influence of its people is been the cult of personality. You have Kim Il Song whose legend was forged during the war with Japan, who was seen very much of the father of the country, the eternal president. His son Kim Jong Il, according to legend there, was born under a morning star in a log cabin in a sacred mountain. While the reality is, most believe he was born, in fact, in Siberia.

But these all go to the cult of personality. Kim Jong Il known as the Dear Leader. Now we're hearing about the Great Successor Kim Jong Un.

Just how successfully he'll be able to maintain that cult of personality will be crucial as well -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Stan, back to China and its alliance with North Korea. How have Chinese leaders viewed their relationship with North Korea in recent years? I mean, despite talk of being as close as lips and teeth, has Beijing in more recent years viewed its alliance as perhaps more of a liability than an asset?

GRANT: It's expressed its frustration at time, particularly with the nuclear tests in 2006, 2009. A lot of analysts say that while China has the greatest influence over North Korea, it does not control North Korea. One of the things China has always been concerned about is the volatility and the unpredictability of the country.

That said, China does have a significant stake there. And North Korea depends very much on China for its economic well-being. We know that China provides round about 90 percent of the fuel supplies to North Korea, about 80 percent of the consumer goods, half of North Korea's food. So North Korea very heavily indebted to China. And China, of course, having a stake in being able to maintain stability in this region and be able to continue its growth and put off any potential clash it may have with the United States. And that's going to be crucial as well in the coming days.

Just how closely can the U.S. and China work together during this period of uncertainty -- Kristie.

STOUT: Stan Grant joining us live from Beijing. Thank you very much for that.

Now let's take a look at how markets in Asia react at the news of Kim Jong Il's death. And as you can see right here red arrows across the board. The Seoul Kospi, it plunged nearly 3.5 percent indicating investors there are on edge.

And both Japan's NEKKEI index and the Hong Kong Seng, they also tumbled more than 1 percent.

And analysts are warning that we could see even more volatility in the next few days as uncertainty continues over North Korea's future.

Now you are watching News Stream live from Hong Kong. And coming up in just a moment, running battles of the troubled streets of Cairo. After a deadly weekend of clashes, outrage over disturbing pictures of a veiled woman. And protesters say her dignity was stripped away by security forces.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now North Korea is a nation in deep mourning for its long time leader Kim Jong Il. He died Saturday apparently of a heart attack. And while Kim reportedly had been in ill health for several years, his death seems to have shocked many North Koreans. Rare video from inside the so-called Hermit Kingdom shows people weeping and overwhelmed by emotion.

All eyes now are on the man Kim hand picked to be his successor, his youngest son Kim Jong Un. Now the ruling Workers Party is already calling him the Great Successor.

In Egypt, more clashes have broken out in Cairo's Tahrir Square. It is the fourth consecutive day of violence. And over the weekend, smoke billowed over the city as riot police chased protesters and set their tent on fire. At least 13 people have now lost their lives since Friday. Doctors say more than 500 have been wounded.

I want to warn you that you may find the next video disturbing.

Now this is the image that is causing much of the anger. It shows a woman being stripped, beaten and stomped on by riot police. Now a top general on the military council blamed the violence on the protesters.

Now Egypt's military council tried to defend itself earlier today. It claimed it had instructed security forces not to use violence against protesters.

Let's go to Cairo now and speak directly to CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom who is there now. And Mohammed what is the security presence like in the square today. And what is the army saying about the clashes and the violence?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the security presence in the square is still -- there is a lot of security out there. Now most of the military and the police are behind barricades that they set up, but they are in the square. We've heard of clashes earlier in the day taking place as well. The fourth consecutive day of clashes in Tahrir Square.

Earlier, there was a press conference by the Supreme Council of the armed forces here, that is the military council that has been ruling Egypt since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

In it they took a really defense tone and really blamed the protesters for the violence and the clashes that have been going on. General Adel Emara was the person speaking today. Here's more of what he had to say specifically about the protesters that clashes have been ongoing.


GEN. ADEL EMARA, SUPREME COUNCIL OF ARMED SERVICES (through translator): After they started attacking soldiers, spreading rumors that the army is attacking demonstrators, these demonstrators can't be the same demonstrators, pure demonstrators that started the revolution on the 25th of January. These are definitely not the pure people. These demonstrators are aiming to burn down institutions and destroy.


JAMJOOM: General Emara not only laid the blame squarely at the feet of the protesters. Now he also said that the army and the armed forces have been instructed not to shoot, not to harm any protesters. Those are claims that are really being contradicted by the protesters out there and by field medical personnel who say that protesters are being targeted by the Supreme Council of the armed forces.

A lot of pointing fingers going on right now between both groups. Hard to get exactly the straight story of what's been going on.

One more thing to add from this press conference today, Supreme Council of the Armed forces said that they had detected a plot to try to burn down parliament and that they had evidence that protesters were going to try to do so. And they have tried to do so even today, Kristie.

STOUT: Now the story is fascinating. Mohammed Jamjoom in on it. Thank you very much indeed. Mohammed Jamjoom joining us live from Cairo.

Now up next here on News Stream, what kind of legacy will Kim John Il leave? He was revered in his own country and reviled in many others. We'll have more on his life and death ahead.


STOUT: North Korea's Kim Jong Il has died at the age of 69. The international community regarded him as one of the world's most repressive leaders. And at home he was hailed as a near deity.

Now Kim reportedly could not be saved after a heart attack on Saturday. And state media announced his death some 48 hours later.

Now there is no doubt that Kim Jong Il, he was a leader who polarized opinion. Dan Rivers looks back on his life.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kim Jong Il always cut a slightly bizarre figure. His diminutive stature and characteristic hair were parodied by some in the West. But for the citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim was the embodiment of this reclusive state. Feared, loved worshiped, obeyed, his cult of personality was deeply entrenched.

His father was Kim Il Song who founded North Korea with Soviet backing after World War II. Kim Jong Il was just a little boy when the Korean war broke out in 1950 with the Soviet backed north invading the American backed south.

After fighting ended, Kimg Jong Il became steeped in his father's philosophy of duche (ph) or self-reliance. And the North became ever more reclusive.

The North and South never formerly signed a peace treaty and remain technically at war, separated by a tense demilitarized zone.

Gradually Kim Jong Il was groomed for the top, making public appearances in front of cheering crowds.

When Kim Il Song died in 1994, he was declared eternal persident. So his son, instead, became General-Secretary of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea. And by 1998, as head of the army, he consolidated his position with absolute power.

ANDRE LANKOV, NORTH KOREA ANALYST: He will be remembered as a person who was responsible for awful things, for the existence of one of the worst dictatorships in probably not only Korean history, but in the world history at least in the 20th and 21st Century. Yes, he did not create the dictatorship, it was his father's, but he took responsibility and he made sure that it continued for many more years.

RIVERS: He was known for his love of fine wines, at odds in a country where food shortages and privation were common. While the Dear Leader, has he became known, is said to have indulged in his appetite for the finer things, his people were literally starving to death. The collapse of the Soviet Union hit North Korea hard, suddenly ending guaranteed trade deals.

And then devastating floods compounded the famine. Estimates vary for the number that died, but even the regime itself admitted that almost a quarter of a million perished between 1995 and 1998. Some say it was more like 10 times that figure.

But in the capital Pyongyang, the artifice of a successful state was maintained. An opulent subway, proof the Dear Leader would say, that the DPR case progress under his and his father's leadership.

Kim Jong Il was well known as a film buff. Here visiting the set of a North Korean production. His personal video library was said to include 20,000 titles with Rambo and Friday the 13th supposedly topping the Dear Leader's favorite flicks.

In 2000, there appeared to be a thaw in North/South relations. The first ever summit meeting between Kim Jong Il and his main counterpart from the South President Kim Dae-jung. The South's so-called sunshine policy of engagement seemed to be bearing fruit.

But Kim Jong Il pressed ahead with his nuclear weapons program. The U.S. labeled it part of the axis of evil in 2002. A year later, North Korea withdrew from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

In 2006, the North conducted a nuclear test and test fired missiles. It added extra urgency to the six party talks designed to deal with North Korea's nuclear program.

A breakthrough game in 2007 when Kim Jong Il finally agreed to disable the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon in return for fuel and better relations with the U.S. But despite dramatically blowing up the cooling tower, North Korea seemed to backtrack afterwards. The deal appeared to be in jeopardy.

The capture of two U.S. journalists Laura Ling and Yoona Lee on the North Korea border sparked another crisis in 2009. It ended when former president Bill Clinton flew in and successfully negotiated their release, prompting hopes there would be further engagement.

Observers say Kim Jong Il will be remembered as a nearly impossible man to bargain with. Stubborn and fickle in equal measure. A man who kept 23 million people in a totalitarian nightmare in one of the most repressive, reclusive regimes in the world.

Dan Rivers, CNN.


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