North Korean’s Kim Jong Il’s Death Sends Asian Stocks Tumbling

The shocking death of North Korea’s leader has sent Asian stocks tumbling, deepening concerns regarding the financial market.

Kim Jong Il’s death was announced last night in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Stability in the region has been compromised, and the reclusive regime will now undergo a major change in leadership.

South Korea’s Kospi index initially fell 4.1%, but later regained to trade 3.1% at 1,782.50. The won also slid 1.6% against the dollar. Aside from that common safe haven, the yen and the euro sank as well.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1% at 8,314.44, while the Hand Seng plunged 2.5% to 17,833.42. Similarly, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.6%.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have heightened, and South Korea has put both its police and military on high alert. President Lee Myung-Bak also convened national Security Council meetings. Japanese leaders are keeping an eye on markets, and are in touch with the U.S.

“We need to prepare for any contingencies,” said Jun Azumi, according to Kyodo News Agency.

Panamanian President to visit three countries in Asia for investment

Ricardo MartinelliPanama’s president, Ricardo Martinelli, begin on Friday a tour of Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan to strengthen relations with these countries and attract investment, said the Panamanian Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela.

Martinelli will meet with the presidents Sellapan Rama Nathan (Singapore), Lee Myung-Bak (Korea) and Ma Ying-jeou (Taiwan), with whom he seeks bilateral relations on economic issues, according to Carlos Varela.

“The president’s visit (Martinelli) is to bring bilateral relations and encourage foreign investment in the country,” Varela told reporters.

Varela said the tour, which will take 9 days, seeks to promote Panama as “a logistics center and convergence” of passengers and cargo for distribution in the continent.