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DEMISE OF A DICTATOR – KIM JONG IL'S DEATH CAUSING SERIOUS CONCERN IN ASIA

Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement after the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il.  Rep. Engel is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who has visited North Korea twice in the last decade. 

“The world will not miss Kim Jong Il who oppressed his people back to the Stone Age.  When I went to North Korea, I was stunned by how the country appears to be a fossil from an age long gone.  Seeing the starvation, the state-run propaganda and the lack of access to the rest of the world was jarring.  North Korea is a throwback to East Germany from the Cold War era – a situation which is extremely dangerous.  A vacuum in leadership for a dictatorship with access to nuclear arms is frightening, and we must closely coordinate any response with South Korea and our other allies in Asia.  I am hopeful that the death of this tyrant could lead to change in North Korea – something which would only help the North Korean people, our Asian allies, and the world, but I am skeptical that any change will take place in the near future.  In the end, the United States and our democratic friends in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere look forward to the day when the repression ends in North Korea and the regime makes the necessary reforms and enters the modern world.”

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