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Clinton Says U.S. Hopes North Korea Will Choose 'Peace'

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States hopes North Korea will follow the "path of peace" following the death of its leader Kim Jong Il.
Clinton urged the country to work with the international community and improve relations with its neighbors.
She also said the United States was "ready to help the North Korean people."

"We reiterate our hope for improved relations with the people of North Korea and remain deeply concerned about their wellbeing," Clinton said.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed U.S. commitment to its allies to the region in a phone call to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
North Korean media reported on December 19 that Kim had died of a heart attack brought about by overwork and stress.
He was 69, although some experts question the official accounts of his birth date and location.

North Korea state media have shown Kim's body lying in state in a glass coffin.
The still photos showed his youngest son and apparent successor, Kim Jong Un, and other officials lining up to pay their respects.

WATCH: The late Kim Jong Il lies in state in Pyongyang
Kim Jong Il Lies In State
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Kim's body was displayed in Pyongyang's Kumsusan Memorial Palace.

The embalmed body of Kim's father and founding president, Kim Il Sung, is also on display elsewhere in the palace.

compiled from agency reports