Here are the Republican presidential candidates' statements Monday reacting to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il:
"While there is one less dictator in the world from North Korea, we have no idea what life would be like under his next successor. What we do know is the world remains a very dangerous place. That's why it is imperative that our next commander-in-chief appreciates the level of dangerous activity we have in the world today. And if I am commander-in-chief, I will do everything I can to make sure that Iran never achieves its goal of having a nuclear weapon, and that is why Ron Paul would make a very dangerous president."
"I believe that we have to recognize that when you have dictatorships that have nuclear weapons and are developing ballistic [missiles] that the world is dangerous ... I take very seriously the kind of dictatorship we’re seeing in North Korea where the truth is, we have no idea what the successor will be like, whether the regime will become more open or become even more dangerous."
"Kim Jong Il was a conscienceless tyrant. His death closes a tragic chapter for the people of North Korea and offers them the best opportunity to get on a path toward a more free and open society and political reform. In the short-term, the United States must pay extremely close attention to the disposition of North Korea's nuclear bombs, nuclear materials, and other elements of their WMD program and use all available pressure points to prevent rogue activities and proliferation."
"I don’t think the new guy [Kim Jong Un] is going to be any more with it. He didn’t seem like he had a whole lot of talent to me. So this looks like it might be a wonderful opportunity; the world is changing. They have a new leader there, and you know the South Koreans have about what, 10, 20 times the GDP of North Korea. What are we doing over there [in South Korea]? Why don’t we have those military persons back here spending their money here in this country? Nah, I’d bring them home from South Korea. I’d bring them home from Japan, I’d bring them home from Germany and the Middle East, and we’d be stronger for it."
"The death of vicious dictator Kim Jong Il provides some cause for hope but does not automatically end the reign of inhumane tyranny he and his father constructed. Twenty-three million people still live under North Korea's isolationist, inhumane, and tyranical policies. North Korea remains a nuclear power, and there is a great threat that those weapons might fall into the wrong hands if civil war breaks out. At the same time, Jong's death is an opportunity to reunify the peninsula if the situation is handled effectively."
"Kim Jong Il was a ruthless tyrant who lived a life of luxury while the North Korean people starved. He recklessly pursued nuclear weapons, sold nuclear and missile technology to other rogue regimes, and committed acts of military aggression against our ally South Korea. He will not be missed. His death represents an opportunity for America to work with our friends to turn North Korea off the treacherous course it is on and ensure security in the region. America must show leadership at this time. The North Korean people are suffering through a long and brutal national nightmare. I hope the death of Kim Jong Il hastens its end."