North Koreans Weep in the Streets After Death of Kim Il Sung With PM-Obit-Kim Il Sung, Bjt
Jul. 09, 1994
BEIJING (AP) _ Shocked by the death of President Kim Il Sung, North Koreans wept today in the streets of their capital, witnesses said.
''Immediately, there was a spontaneous outburst of emotions, people were crying,'' S. Kipgen, India's ambassador to North Korea, said by telephone from Pyongyang. ''Children were crying as if they had lost their father or mother.''
State-run media announced Kim's death today, 34 hours after he died. Kim, 82, had ruled the communist nation for more than four decades and defied the world in a standoff over his nuclear ambitions.
After the announcement of his death, broadcasters read continuously from Kim's three-volume memoirs.
There were no indication of unusual troop movements or a succession struggle in Pyongyang, residents said. Kim's heir apparent is his son, Kim Jong Il, but it was unclear if he would consolidate power.
''At the moment it is quiet,'' said Karl Moeglich, a German diplomat stationed in Pyongyang.
Ambassador Kipgen said mail was delivered on time and shops were open, but ''no one was smiling. People looked glum and numb.''
Most foreign residents in Pyongyang contacted by telephone from Beijing requested anonymity for fear of trouble from North Korean authorities. They said they have been warned not to reveal information about life in the North to the outside world.
At the North Korean Embassy in Beijing, the flag was lowered to half-staff. North Koreans arrived at the embassy in tears.