Seoul put South Korean forces on high alert and Pyongyang urged an increase in its “military capability” as the death of North Korea’s enigmatic leader Kim Jong Il spurred fresh security concerns in the tense region.

The 69-year-old “dear leader” of the reclusive communist state died of a heart attack on Saturday, state news outlets reported Monday. The ruling Worker’s Party proclaimed his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, “the great successor,” indicating he would assume his father’s post.

In the South, across one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders, President Lee Myung-bak canceled the rest of his Monday schedule and put all members of South Korea’s military on “emergency alert,” his office said. The two nations never signed a peace treaty following the Korean War of the early 1950s, leaving the two nations technically at war.

After an emergency Cabinet meeting Monday, Lee asked South Koreans “to go about their lives.”

Continue Reading on