President monitoring reports from North Korea


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says President Barack Obama is monitoring reports of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

Kim's death was announced by state media in a "special broadcast" from the Pyongyang late Sunday. The reports said Kim died of a heart ailment on a train due to a "great mental and physical strain" on Dec. 17 during a "high intensity field inspection."

The White House says U.S. officials are in contact with allies in South Korea and Japan.

"We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies," the White House said in a statement.

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