Conflict & Justice

North Korea test fires missile after Kim Jong Il's death


A South Korean veteran holds a placard showing North Korean flags and portraits of Kim Jong-Il (L) and his son Jong-Un (R) during a rally in Seoul.



On the same day it announced the death of leader Kim Jong Il, the nuclear-armed North Korea reportedly test-fired a short-range missile off its eastern coast.

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South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak on Monday called for calm as the military was placed on high alert, and the government in "emergency mode," following the news of Kim's death on Saturday, Al Jazeera reported.

According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, an unnamed government official said the missile launch was unrelated to the news of Kim's death on from a heart attack on Saturday.

The official reportedly said:

"North Korea test-fired a short-range missile this morning ... it has been closely monitored by our military authorities."

Seoul's defense ministry declined to confirm the reported launch, the Associated Press reported.

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South Korea's emergency mode dictates that all government officials are restricted from taking leave or traveling.

A presidential official told a televised news conference on Monday:

"President Lee urged the public to go about their usual economic activities without turbulence ... All Blue House [parliament] officials are in emergency mode."

The two Koreas have technically still been at war since 1953, having never signed a peace treaty after the Korean war. They share the world's most heavily fortified border.