On December 18, 2011, the White House Press Secretary released the following statement: "We are closely monitoring reports that Kim Jong Il is dead. The President has been notified, and we are in close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan. We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies."
The Press Secretary later provided a readout of President Obama's telephone call with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. In a statement, the Press Secretary noted, "At midnight tonight, President Obama spoke with Republic of Korea President Lee Myung-bak to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula following the death of Kim Jong Il. The President reaffirmed the United States' strong commitment to the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the security of our close ally, the Republic of Korea. The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch as the situation develops and agreed they would direct their national security teams to continue close coordination."
After meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba at the Department of State in Washington, DC on December 19, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said:
"Today the foreign minister and I discussed the evolving situation on the Korean peninsula in light of the reports from North Korea state-owned media on the death of Kim Jong-il. We both share a common interest in a peaceful and stable transition in North Korea, as well as in ensuring regional peace and stability. We have been in close touch with our partners in the Six-Party Talks today. President Obama and President Lee spoke last night. I spoke with Foreign Minister Kim early this morning, and we are also reaching out to Beijing and Moscow, and, of course, closely coordinating with our Japanese friends. We reiterate our hope for improved relations with the people of North Korea and remain deeply concerned about their well-being."