WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is warily watching developments on the Korean peninsula after the death of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il and may postpone decisions on re-engaging the country in nuclear talks and providing it with food aid, U.S. officials said Sunday.
The administration had been expected to decide on both issues this week, possibly as early as Monday, but the officials said Kim's death would likely delay the process. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation. They said the U.S. was particularly concerned about any changes in the military postures of North and South Korea but were hopeful that calm would prevail.
The White House said it was monitoring the situation closely and in constant touch with allies South Korea and Japan, but it offered no substantive comment on the implications of Kim's death. "We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies," it said in a statement.
Kim's death was announced by state media in a "special broadcast" from Pyongyang late Sunday. The reports said Kim died of a heart ailment on a train due to a "great mental and physical strain" on Dec. 17 during a "high intensity field inspection."