The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is bringing up difficult questions related to protocol, as the world’s major powers are considering whether and how to offer condolences.
The symbolic power of this kind of messages is being weighed by diplomats, since the person in question is a long-lasting dictator, blamed for thousands of deaths.
So far, Western countries and the U.S. have avoided the use of the word “condolences”, addressing instead messages of support to the people of North Korea.
Referring to the official message of the U.S. to North Korea, a State Department spokesperson said it "intended to be a signal of our expectations and hopes for the new regime."
"With regard to ‘the c word,’ I think we didn’t considerate it appropriate in this case," she added.
All Japan news and South Korea, however, have already offered condolences to their unpredictable neighbor, through official statements, in an effort to support stability in the region.
Formal statements have a big importance for the leadership of North Korea, which has built a complex personality cult around the Kim dynasty.
North Korea has however said that it will not invite any foreign delegations at the December 28 funeral of Kim. The decision shows that the regime is focused on itself and the country, instead of developing international relations, experts in foreign diplomacy say.