On Radio Korea airwaves and around LA, mixed reaction to Kim Jong Il's death

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Reaction to the unexpected death of North Korean leader Kim Jong ll is pouring into the Radio Korea network in Los Angeles. At the Koreatown offices on Wilshire Blvd., the biggest topic of discussion: the death of Kim Jong Il and speculation about the country’s future.

Assistant News Director William Choo says the phones have been lit up since news broke of Kim’s death late Sunday. Choo says many people are happy Kim is no longer alive.

“They feel like Kin Jung ll was the number one public enemy of Korea," Choo says. "And finally he’s gone so they feel relieved... but many people worry about [the] situation.”

A couple blocks away from Radio Korea, a Chinese engineer rushing to work agreed. The woman only offered her name as “Chan.” She’s hoping to see a political revolution.

“You know we really need to work together to improve the peace. Improve... quality of life for Northern Korean people.”

Chan says that quality of life centers around issues such as nuclear disarmament and the potential transition of power to the late North Korean leader’s young son and chosen successor - Kim Jong Un.

Korean American investment banker Sung Kim, 35, says no matter what happens, he’s less optimistic North Korea will become liberated anytime soon.

“I don’t think it’s going to do anything for North and South Korea," he said.

Radio Korea’s William Choo says he’s heard that sentiment from younger adults. At the same time, he says some of them have expressed they’d like to see North and South Korea put an end to the fighting that began with the Korean War more than half a century ago.

“Because of ideology, South Korea and North Korea... They can not get along right now, but the younger people want both countries to get along so that’s why they don’t feel it’s a good thing that Kim Jong is gone.”

Radio Korea says it will devote much of its coverage to the aftermath of the North Korean leader’s death for its listeners throughout Southern California.

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