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Tue 20 Dec 2011 11:31 AM

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Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death

North Korean leader's sudden death plunges the heavily militarised region into fresh uncertainty

Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
South Korean soldiers patrol inside the barbed-wire fence at Imjinkak, near the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating South and North Korea (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
A South Korean soldier patrols at the Injingak railway station, near the DMZ (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, aged 69, died Saturday after reportedly suffering a heart attack (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
North Korea's neighbors and its old enemy the United States appealed for stability on Monday (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
Death of leader Kim Jong-il plunged one of the world's most heavily militarized regions into fresh uncertainty (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
Kim suffered a heart attack, setting up the autocratic, well-armed and nuclear-ambitious state for only its second leadership change since the Korean war ended in an uneasy truce in 1953 (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
State media anointed Kim's youngest son, Kim Jung-un, as the 'Great Successor', but little is known about how he would run a reclusive state with more than a million troops and missiles that Washington fears could one day reach US shores (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
Many experts have warned that a transition could lead to a period of instability (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
n a reminder of the permanent volatility on the divided peninsula, South Korean media reported that the North test fired a short-range missile off its eastern coast (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
South Korea, still technically at war with the North, put its military on alert after the news of the death (Getty Images)
Korean peninsula on security alert after Kim Jong-il's death
Seoul's Defence Ministry said there were no signs of any unusual North Korean troop movements (Getty Images)