North Korea is reported to have kept the news of the death of its leader a secret for two days, perhaps a sign that the leadership was struggling to position itself for what many believe could be a particularly perilous transition. Without taking into account Pyongyang's past assistance to Pakistan's missile programme, India did not abandon North Korea, at a time when almost the rest of the world had isolated it. Kim Jong-il may have realised his family's dream of turning a starving, isolated country into a nuclear-weapons power even if it sank further into despotism. Its stance was largely responsible for its isolation.
K.S. Jayatheertha, Bangalore
It is a sad moment in the history of North Korea, as Kim Jong-il was one of the few world leaders who withstood the pressure and coercive tactics of the West. At the same time, the fact that cannot be lost sight of is that under the leader, North Koreans may have suffered underdevelopment in almost all fields.
An idea whose time may have come now is possible unification with South Korea. Let us not forget that today, a unified Germany is very strong economically as well as politically.
T. Anand Raj, Chennai
North Korea has exhibited to the world that it is one of the most desolate countries on earth, and mysterious one. The detailed accounts of the state of the country were interesting to read (Dec. 20). Perhaps, Pyongyang will start revealing its secrets.
P.K. Jayanandan, Kozhikode