19 Dec 2011

Concern held for North Korea's future, says Key

5:33 pm on 19 December 2011

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key believes the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will spark some concerns about what that means for the country's future.

South Korea says its military has been put on alert following the news.

State television has reported that Mr Kim died on Saturday of physical and mental over-work.

The 69-year-old had led the communist nation since the death of his father Kim Il-sung in 1994.

His designated successor is believed to be his third son, Kim Jong-un, who is thought to be in his late 20s.

John Key says that when the son started taking a more prominent leadership role, there were a number of very concerning skirmishes and the rest of the world will now be looking on with some trepidation.

However, Mr Key says he does hope for a smooth transition and a better outlook for the people of North Korea.