Reporting from WBEZ's Susie An used in this report.
Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk says North Korea faces instability after the death of dictator Kim Jong Il.
Kirk, a Republican, says regardless, the U.S. should attend the funeral of Kim Jong Il if invited by North Korea.
"We should sent a delegation because we should always try to build a new relationship with the regime even though it looks pretty bleak at this point," Kirk said.
Kirk believes the dictator's heir apparent Kim Jong Un could be "just as bad, if not worse than his father."
Democratic Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin hopes Kim Jong Un's short time spent outside of North Korea will be beneficial.
"We're hoping that even that brief exposure to Western development, civilization will give him a different view of the world," Durbin said. "But at this point, it's not clear that he'll be the undisputed leader and it's not clear as leader that he'll change his father's policies.
Kim Jong Il is believed to have died of a heart attack. He was 69.