Washington DC- Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, gave the following statement on the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

“The death of Kim Jong Il ends his 17-year rule as North Korea’s repressive and brutal leader, but it does not end the challenge the North poses for the region and the world,” said Rep. Berman. “North Korea’s nuclear weapons program remains a grave threat and a dangerous proliferation risk. The question now is whether the next North Korean leadership will continue the country’s isolation and keep its people living in fear and suffering, or whether it will give up its nuclear weapons, end its repression, and give its people the freedom they crave.”