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Countries call for stability on Korean Peninsula following top DPRK leader's death

(Xinhua)

16:43, December 19, 2011

BEIJING, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Countries in the world have called for stability and restraint on the Korean Peninsula after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Monday announced the death of its top leader Kim Jong Il.

Kim, who was general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission, and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, died "from a great mental and physical strain at 08:30 (2330 GMT Friday) on Dec. 17, 2011, on a train during a field guidance tour," the DPRK's official KCNA news agency said.

China on Monday offered its "deep condolences" on the death of Kim.

"We are shocked to learn that DPRK top leader comrade Kim Jong Il passed away and we hereby express our deep condolences on his demise and send sincere regards to the DPRK people," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu.

The White House said late Sunday that the United States is in close touch with South Korea and Japan over Kim's death and remains committed to stability on the Korean Peninsula.

"We are closely monitoring reports that Kim Jong Il is dead," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

"We remain committed to stability on the Korean Peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies," he added.

U.S. President Barack Obama held a phone conversation with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak following Kim's death, the White House said Monday.

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