(SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korea’s military has been put on alert following the announcement of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s death.
North Korea’s state run news agency reported Monday that Kim died of heart failure while traveling by train on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. local time. He was 69 years old.
After word got out, the White House issued a statement saying it was in, “close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan,” and that it was, “closely monitoring” reports of Kim’s death.
At midnight, President Obama called South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, “to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula following the death,” and to reaffirm, “the United States’ strong commitment to the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the security of our close ally.”
“The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch as the situation develops and agreed they would direct their national security teams to continue close coordination,” according to a statement from the White House.
Currently, there are about 29,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Jennifer Rizzo, CNN
Doug Criss, CNN
Barbie Latza Nadeau, Tim Hume and Vasco Cotovio, CNN
Elizabeth Cohen, CNN