Senator Mark Udall released this statement today, on the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il:
“Kim Jong Il was a tyrant who severely oppressed his own people and threatened the world with his pursuit of nuclear weapons. North Korea was never going to change radically under his rule, and so the isolated country now has an opportunity to re-engage with the world. However, we’re entering a dangerous phase, in which one tyrant may well be replaced by another.
“Uncertainty isn’t a good thing on the Korean Peninsula, where millions of troops from the South and the North face each other. Whether Kim Jong Il’s death will result in regime collapse or increasing provocation as Kim’s son and chosen successor, Kim Jong Un, consolidates power, the range of likely scenarios – to include accelerated nuclear testing – is deeply concerning. I urge the administration to stay engaged in the region as these next few months play out.”