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Kim Jong Il death: Hard times ahead for North Korea, L.A. pastor says

December 18, 2011 |  9:09 pm

Jung Im Moon, a pastor who heads Arise Mission Church, a small congregation of about 20 North Korean refugees in Los Angeles, welcomed the news of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's passing but said she knew hard times were immediately ahead for the people of North Korea.

“It was great news, it was so shocking,” said Moon, who has been working with the refugees for about eight years. “Personally, I think it was just a matter of time.”

PHOTOS: Kim Jong Il | 1942-2011

She said she was reluctant to broach any political topic with her congregants because it was sensitive and painful for most. Many of them are nostalgic for the homeland they left behind and are hesitant to criticize the regime because of the repression they experienced as youngsters, Moon said.

Kim’s death was announced by state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. No cause of death was reported, but Kim was believed to have had diabetes and heart disease.

FULL COVERAGE: Kim Jong Il | 1942-2011

The  leader was believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but nonetheless appeared in numerous photos released by state media as he toured state facilities and in recent months embarked on rare trips outside North Korea -– to China and Russia.

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--Victoria Kim

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