1) Yeah, Dechord's dead in the plotline. Died in 1981 due to radiation and oil poisoning in the Pacific ocean.
2) Both Chineses (?) are spoken the same way; their characters are what makes whem simplified/traditional.
For example, Traditional Chinese uses the character "歡", whereas Simplified uses "欢". Both are pronounced "hūan".
Mello writes in Simplified for the sake of efficiency and ease, but also knows all the Traditional counterparts to the characters.