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North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

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North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

Old 09-09-08, 12:39 PM
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North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/wo...exprod=myyahoo

By MARK MAZZETTI AND CHOE SANG-HUN

Published: September 9, 2008

WASHINGTON — The North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is seriously ill and might have suffered a stroke weeks ago, an American intelligence official in Washington said Tuesday, after Mr. Kim failed to attend an unexpectedly small-scale celebration of his country’s 60th anniversary.



KCNA, via Reuters
Kim Jong-il in a photograph released by North Korea on Aug. 11. No public appearances by the North Korean leader have been reported since mid-August.


The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the exact status of the North Korean’s health was unclear, but that it did not seem Mr. Kim was on the verge of death.

Mr. Kim’s health is the focus of intense attention among governments and security experts. He leads one of the world’s most isolated and unpredictable regimes, one with a nuclear weapons program that is the focus of international concern.


Mr. Kim, 66, has not missed any of the 10 previous military or militia parades staged for major party, military and state anniversaries, in which columns of armored vehicles and rocket launchers rumbled through the capital Pyongyang’s main plaza as legions of goose-stepping soldiers saluted him.

But for the 60th anniversary — a deeply significant milestone in North Korea — there was only a parade by militia groups in charge of civil defense, which Mr. Kim did not attend, said a spokesman at Seoul’s main spy agency, the National Intelligence Service.

There has been speculation about Mr. Kim’s condition for some time, the American official in Washington said, but his absence at the celebration is evidence that he remains in serious condition.

However, the official said, there are few indications that North Korean officials are stepping up preparations for a transfer of authority.

South Korea’s largest daily, Chosun Ilbo, reported Tuesday that Mr. Kim collapsed on Aug. 22, citing an unnamed South Korean diplomat in Beijing. The Seoul government could not confirm the report. The South Korean intelligence agency said it was trying to confirm reports of Mr. Kim’s ill health.

The North’s state-run media have not reported any public appearance by Mr. Kim since mid-August, and speculation was already swirling that he might be in ill health. According to South Korea’s intelligence service, Mr. Kim has chronic heart disease and diabetes.

Since North Korea was founded in 1948 under Soviet guardianship, it has had only two leaders: Kim Il-sung, and after his death in 1994, his son, Kim Jong-il, the first and only hereditary leader in the Communist world. Mr. Kim has three sons. None has emerged as heir-apparent and experts on North Korea are widely divided who will succeed the president.

A second American official briefed on intelligence about Mr. Kim’s health expressed concern that there did not appear to be a clear plan to transfer power in the event of his death.

“There is no succession track, which could lead to infighting and chaos,” he said.


North Korea experts in Seoul cautioned that Mr. Kim has often disappeared from public view for extended periods, using the ensuing rumors and uncertainty to keep the outside world at bay.

“Kim Jong-il has a history of keeping away from public view when he had something important to decide and the North’s external relations worsened,” said Koh Yu-hwan, a longtime North Korea observer at Seoul’s Dongkuk University.

Kim Keun Sik, a North Korea expert in Kyungnam University in South Korea, said: “The nuclear talks are in a stalemate. Tensions with the United States are deepening. Kim knew that the world was watching whether he would show up today. For him, this may be a perfect chance to bring world attention to him.


In a joint statement of loyalty to Mr. Kim on Tuesday, the North’s key ruling organs — including the Workers’ Party, the cabinet and the military — praised him for building a “powerful war deterrent that can safeguard the nation’s survival.”

“If the American imperialists dare ignite the flames of war, we will mobilize all our powerful potentials to mercilessly punish the invaders and win decisively in our great showdown against the United States,” said the statement, carried by the North’s official news agency, K.C.N.A..

Such strident pronouncements have become more common in the North’s official rhetoric in recent weeks.

When tensions with the United States increase, the government redoubles its efforts to inspire fears of an American invasion. Such propaganda carries particular urgency because the North feeds 20 percent of its 23 million people with food aid provided by the United States, which its official media regularly calls “our sworn enemy.”

Efforts to halt the North’s nuclear weapons efforts have recently stalled. The North had agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons programs in return for economic and political rewards from the United States and its allies. North Korea began disabling its Soviet-era nuclear plant in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, last November, in a major diplomatic victory for the Bush administration.

But it stopped the work in August, angry that Washington had not removed it from a terrorism blacklist. The United States said North Korea must first agree to a comprehensive inspection program to reveal whether it is hiding any nuclear assets.

Mark Mazzetti reported from Washington, and Choe Sang-hun from Seoul, South Korea.
Maybe this will be the beginning of the end to the isolation that North Korea has placed itself in?

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Old 09-09-08, 12:41 PM
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Kim Jong ill?
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Old 09-09-08, 12:43 PM
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I read a report in the last two days or so going over how an official over there, South Korea or Japan or something along those lines, believes that he died in 2003 and since that time we've been seeing doubles, and how he had a number of them ready to go in case of his deal.

Now I don't totally buy that, but it is interesting to look back on hearing this type of news today. With that report from a few days ago, perhaps they decided to end it, who knows.

EDIT:

Here's the first thing posted on Google about it:

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/wor...html?id=777913

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has been out of the public eye recently and one expert on the country says he has a very good reason -- he died five years ago.

And, says Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Japan's Waseda University, his place has been taken by several stand-ins controlled by four high-ranking "puppet-masters."

Kim, a former smoker and heavy drinker, died in 2003 from diabetes, said Prof. Shigemura in a new book The True Character of Kim Jong Il.

Prof. Shigemura's theory received wide publicity yesterday while other reports were circulating that the North Korean leader was believed to be very ill.
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Old 09-09-08, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Kim Jong ill?
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Old 09-09-08, 12:59 PM
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That's his name. Don't wear it out.
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Old 09-09-08, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Kim Jong ill?
Now why didn't I think of that!

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Old 09-09-08, 03:15 PM
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Looks like they made need a new reader.
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Old 09-09-08, 03:36 PM
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Two of the world's best golfers, taken down in the same season.
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Old 09-09-08, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
Two of the world's best golfers, taken down in the same season.
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Old 09-10-08, 01:03 AM
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Kim isn't dead. He's just sharing a room with David Duchovney in the sex rehab clinic.
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Old 09-10-08, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by General Zod View Post
Looks like they made need a new reader.
Took me a second.
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Old 09-10-08, 07:51 AM
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Ill Kim Jong Il
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Old 09-10-08, 04:23 PM
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He's just deplessed and ronery.
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Old 10-29-08, 12:14 AM
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081029/...YEUl9sdHADMQ--

Report: NKorea's Kim suffers 'serious' setback

By JEAN H. LEE, Associated Press Writer Jean H. Lee,
2 hrs 8 mins ago

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korean intelligence indicates that ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has suffered a serious setback and has been hospitalized, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The report in the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper cited an unnamed government official in saying intelligence obtained Sunday suggested "a serious problem" with Kim's health. The report did not elaborate.

Kim, 66, reportedly suffered a stroke and underwent brain surgery in August. North Korea, however, denies he is ill.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service and its Unification Ministry said Wednesday they were aware of the Dong-a report but could not confirm it.

The report came a day after Japan's prime minister told lawmakers in Tokyo that Kim probably is in the hospital, though "not unable" to make decisions as North Korea's leader.

The chief of the National Intelligence Service had told lawmakers Tuesday that Kim was "not physically perfect" but still able to rule the country.

Speculation about the reclusive leader's health grew when he missed a September military parade marking North Korea's 60th anniversary. He then disappeared from public sight for two months.

Kim, who rules the Stalinist nation with absolute authority, has not publicly named any successors, leading to concerns about an uncertain future in the impoverished, nuclear-armed nation.

North Korea has sought in recent weeks to tamp down rumors about Kim's health with news reports and footage portraying the leader as active and able, attending a soccer game and inspecting a military unit. The reports, photos and video are undated.

Japan's Fuji television has reported that Kim's eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, flew recently to Paris to recruit a neurosurgeon to treat his father.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso told lawmakers Tuesday that the French doctor got on a plane for Beijing, perhaps en route to North Korea. South Korea's NIS chief Kim Sung-ho also said the son was believed to have traveled to France recently.

The French weekly Le Point reported on its Web site Tuesday that a French neurosurgeon who is a close friend of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was traveling to North Korea to give medical care to Kim. But Le Point said it had contacted the doctor, Francois-Xavier Roux, who insisted he was in Beijing for several days — and not North Korea.

Roux's hospital in Paris told The Associated Press late Tuesday that its offices were closed for the day, and that no one was available to answer questions about him. The French Foreign Ministry confirmed that Roux knows Kouchner.

Aso told lawmakers his government had information that Kim probably remains hospitalized. "His condition is not so good. However, I don't think he is totally incapable of making decisions."

The NIS chief told South Korean lawmakers Kim appeared to have recovered enough to carry out his daily duties as the country's leader.

___

Associated Press writer Jamey Keaten contributed to this report from Paris.
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Old 11-07-08, 08:10 PM
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle5107960.ece

North Korea 'is being run by Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law'
The nuclear armed dictatorship of North Korea is being governed by the brother-in-law of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Il, who succumbed to serious ill health three months ago, South Korean experts have concluded.

Government officials and academic North Korea watchers have received intelligence suggesting that Chang Sung Taek, a 62-year old who runs the totalitarian state’s secret police, is making key decisions while the “Dear Leader” convalesces.

They believe that Mr Kim is conscious and probably capable of walking, but that he remains weak after what appears to have been a sudden stroke suffered in the middle of August.

Despite the fact that Mr Kim has not formally named anyone to succeed him to the leadership of North Korea and its million-strong, nuclear-equipped army, the Government appears to be functioning normally for the time being with no obvious signs of instability.

“Chang Sung Taek is now in control and is leading North Korea,” said Choi Jin Wook, of the government-affiliated Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul. “Other important figures consulted him, even when Kim Jong Il was OK. He will keep Kim Jong Il’s policy line even if he dies.”

Apart from his family connection to Mr Kim, Mr Chang is a cosmopolitan among North Korean cadres whose career bounced back from the brink of disaster just two years ago.

According to South Korea’s ministry of unification, he was educated at an elite school in Pyongyang, and married Mr Kim’s younger sister, Kim Kyong Hui, after studying in Moscow for three years.

He rose through the hierarchy to become head of the most powerful bureau of the Korean Workers’ Party’s, the “organisation and guidance department”. His older brother was the army general responsible for the defence of the capital itself.

In 2002, two years after a historic summit meeting between North and South, he led a delegation of senior officials on an unprecedented tour of South Korean industrial sites.

The most senior North Korean defector to the South, the former chief ideologue, Hwang Jang Yop, spoke of him as a potential successor to Mr Kim after a coup, and said that he was especially close to Kim Jong Nam, the dictator’s eldest son.

Perhaps because of his growing influence, Mr Chang was abruptly purged in 2004, and sent into internal exile. He reappeared in 2006 and last year a new and powerful post was created for him: head of the Party’s “administrative department”, in charge of the courts, the prosecutors, and the police – including those responsible for internal spying.

“He is very smart, dynamic, with maybe some charisma – that’s the image I have of him,” said Dr Choi. “He has fewer enemies [than other senior cadres] because when he purges people, they are not just sent away from Pyongyang, they are killed.”

Dr Choi declined to describe the source of the information about Mr Chang’s newly acquired position of power, which has been shared with him and other researchers and government officials, and it is impossible to verify independently.

Reading the internal politics of a regime as secretive and paranoid as that of North Korea has always been profoundly difficult, but rarely has it seemed so important since the sudden disappearance from the North Korean media of Mr Kim.

In the past he has sometimes disappeared from view for weeks on end, but when he failed to make an appearance at celebrations in September to mark the country’s 60th anniversary, Pyongyangologists around the world concluded that something was wrong.

Japanese television identified a French brain surgeon who had recently visited Pyongyang – although he denied having treated Mr Kim. The Government has angrily denied that anything is wrong with him, and has released several photographs of him attending public events, none of which have quelled the growing consensus that he is ill.

Photographs released last week showed signs of having digitally manipulated to insert the Dear Leader’s image into a crowd of soldiers.

But none of the governments which monitor North Korea most closely – South Korea, China and the US – have reported any signs of panic or unusual troop movements, suggesting that the government is coping with the indisposition of its leader.
Not much info out there on this guy.
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Old 11-07-08, 08:33 PM
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It turns out that Kim is alive and well. North Korea released this photo of him on November 2, 2008, talking to people at a soccer match.



It appears that he and his closest followers have become vampires, and cast no shadows.

Link.
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Old 11-07-08, 09:01 PM
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Old 06-02-09, 05:31 AM
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re: North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090602/...il_s_successor
Reports: NKorea Kim's youngest son named successor

SEOUL, South Korea – Kim Jong Il's youngest son — a 26-year-old who reportedly enjoys skiing and studied English, German and French at a Swiss boarding school — was named North Korea's next leader in an announcement to top ruling party, government and military officials, a South Korean lawmaker and newspapers said Tuesday,

The announcement naming Kim Jong Un to eventually succeed his father was sent after North Korea's May 25 nuclear test, the Hankook Ilbo newspaper reported, citing unnamed members of South Korea's parliamentary intelligence committee briefed by the spy agency. However, there were no signs Kim intended to step down anytime soon.

The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper carried a similar report, and said North Korea was teaching its people a song lauding the new "Commander Kim." The paper cited unidentified sources. The National Intelligence Service said it cannot confirm the reports.

The reports about North Korea paving the way for a new leader — the nation's third — comes at a time of mounting tensions over North Korea's April 5 rocket launch and the May 25 underground nuclear test, and indications that the North may be preparing to test-fire medium- and long-range missiles. Global powers are discussing how to rein in Pyongyang for its nuclear defiance.

Analysts have suspected the saber-rattling is part of a campaign to build unity and support for a successor to 67-year-old Kim Jong Il, who reportedly suffered a stroke last August. Kim has three sons but had not publicly named an heir to lead the nation of 49 million.

After disappearing from the public eye for weeks last fall, Kim re-emerged to make a busy round of trips nationwide and made his first state appearance in months at the delayed opening session of the country's new legislature April 12.

Grayer and thinner, Kim limped ever so slightly as he entered parliament and was somber as he presided over a session that provided few clues to his succession plans.

He was believed to want to name a successor by 2012 — the centenary of the birth of his father, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung — and the regime undertook a massive campaign last year to gear the country up for the 100th anniversary celebrations.

The April 5 launch of what North Korea claimed was a successful bid to send a communications satellite into space was believed part of the campaign to show off the country's scientific advancements.

But in an abrupt shift in plans, the regime stepped up the pace and in early May launched a "150-day campaign" urging North Koreans to work harder to build up the country's economy.

"Before 2012, North Korea must convince the army and the public that Jong Un is the best successor," said Atsuhito Isozaki, assistant professor of North Korean politics at Tokyo's private Keio University. "To pave the way for Jong Un's leadership, it is highly likely that North Korea will turn recent nuclear and missile tests into his achievements."

Analysts said Kim's health troubles have forced the regime to move quickly to appoint a successor. Regional powers fear that Kim's sudden death without naming an heir could lead to a power struggle or vacuum that could spark chaos in the impoverished country.

"Since Kim had a stroke last year, North Korea appears to be in a hurry in naming his successor," Isozaki said.

Many believe the youngest son has the best chance of succeeding the authoritarian leader, possibly with the backing and guidance of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, a member of the all-powerful National Defense Commission who has strong military and political connections.

The eldest son, Jong Nam, 38, had long been considered the favorite to succeed his father — until he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001. He reportedly told Japanese officials he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Kim considers the middle son, Jong Chol, too effeminate for the job, according to a Japanese sushi chef who said he served Kim Jong Il for many years.

Little is known about Jong Un, the second son of former dancer Ko Yong Hi, who died in 2004.

He studied at the International School of Berne in Switzerland in the 1990s under the pseudonym Pak Chol, learning to speak English, German and French, the Swiss weekly news magazine L'Hebdo reported earlier this year, citing classmates and school officials.

A classmate recalled him as timid and introverted but an avid skier and basketball player who was a big fan of the NBA star Michael Jordan. He was humble and friendly with the children of American diplomats, a former school director said. A car arrived every day after school to pick him up, the report said.

The sushi chef, who goes by the pen name Kenji Fujimoto, said in a 2003 memoir that Jong Un looks and acts just like his father and is the leader's favorite.
There have been reports for the past 6-8 months that he favored Kim Jong Un over his other sons, but I refused to believe it. I still don't even know if I buy it. I figure we will know for sure over the next 5-7 days. If Kim Jong Un's name comes up from state media as being instrumental in the recent actions by NK, then the game has changed my friends.

Last edited by Lemdog; 06-02-09 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:49 AM
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re: North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

The latest photo of Kim Jong Un (seriously! It's from 1994, when he was 11):

<img src="http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/02/20/article-1150848-038EEA6E000005DC-331_468x477.jpg"/>
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Old 06-02-09, 12:02 PM
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re: North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

I'm not sure if it is mentioned in the story above (just skimmed it), but in another story I read, it says that his successor (son) is a heavy drinker!

That's all we need is a drunken leader making the decision to send nukes our way!

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Old 07-13-09, 11:10 AM
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re: North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fgw-k...tory?track=rss

Kim Jong Il has pancreatic cancer, report says

South Korea television says the cancer was diagnosed last summer, when the North Korean ruler had a stroke.

Associated Press
3:10 AM PDT, July 13, 2009

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has life-threatening pancreatic cancer, a news report said Monday, days after fresh images of him looking gaunt spurred speculation that his health was worsening following a reported stroke last year.

The 67-year-old Kim was diagnosed with the cancer around the time he was felled by the stroke last summer, Seoul's YTN television reported, citing unidentified intelligence officials in South Korea and China.

The report cited the officials saying the disease is "threatening" Kim's life.

Pancreatic cancer is usually found in its final stage, and considering Kim's age, he is expected to live no more than five years, the report said.

South Korea's spy agency said it could not confirm the report. Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung told reporters he knows nothing of the report. Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young also said he had no information.


Kim's health is a focus of intense media speculation due to concerns about instability in the North and a possible power struggle if he were to die without naming a successor. His third and youngest son, Kim Jong Un, has widely been reported as being groomed as heir, but the regime has made no announcement to the outside world.

North Korea's closed nature and its state-controlled media make it all but impossible to verify reports about Kim's health and his successor.

Monday's report came after Kim last week made a rare public appearance at an annual memorial for his late father and North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung. It was only the second state event he has attended since the reported stroke.

Television footage showed him markedly thinner and with less hair. He also limped slightly, and the sides of his tightly pursed lips looked imbalanced in what were believed to be the effects of a stroke.

The images touched off speculation that he could have other health problems.

South Korea's spy agency has long suspected that Kim has diabetes and heart disease.

Medical doctor and professor Min Yang-ki of Seoul's Hallym University Medical Center has said diabetes usually leads to weight loss. The neurologist also said Kim's limping appears to be a result of a stroke. However, he said, overall it appeared Kim has recovered from that reported illness.

Kim walked on his own into a Pyongyang auditorium for last week's memorial at a normal pace and bowed while standing during a moment of silence.

North Korea experts said the latest images of Kim show he is still fit enough to rule.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies, said he doubts the YTN report about pancreatic cancer because the number of Kim's "field-guidance" trips to workplaces has increased significantly this year.

"Would he be able to carry out such brisk activity while having pancreatic cancer?" Yang said.

Seoul's Unification Ministry, which closely monitors the North, said late last month that Kim made 77 trips to factories and farms across the nation through late June, compared with 49 visits made during the same period last year.

Kim Jong Il took over North Korea after his father died in 1994 of heart failure at age 82, though he did not take on his father's title of president. He runs the North from his post as chairman of the National Defense Commission.

In early April, he presided over a parliamentary meeting where he was re-elected as leader.

The South's spy agency believes that Kim's 26-year-old youngest son, Jong Un, is sure to succeed his father, Seoul's Chosun Ilbo daily reported today, citing a recent report to the National Assembly by the National Intelligence Service.

The agency also reported that Kim Jong Il is expected to officially designate the son as his successor in 2012, the centennial anniversary of late national founder Kim Il Sung's birth, the paper said.

But the regime under the son is expected to be unstable and vulnerable to internal political strife as Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law, Jang Song Thaek, could attempt to snatch power, the paper said.

A U.S.-based scholar who recently traveled to Pyongyang said Saturday that he thinks the son's official designation is expected to come "relatively soon."

"In the past, talking about succession is almost taboo," University of Georgia political scientist Han S. Park told The Associated Press. "But on this trip, I was able to discuss this with officials and acquaintances."

Park said the consensus among the North Koreans he met was that the next leader would be a person who "inherited Kim Il Sung's thoughts, Kim Il Sung's characteristics and Kim Il Sung's leadership."
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Old 07-13-09, 11:35 AM
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re: North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

Pancreatic Cancer? He won't be around much longer. That's for sure.
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Old 07-13-09, 11:40 AM
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re: North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
Pancreatic Cancer? He won't be around much longer. That's for sure.
Depends on the kind. Steve Jobs is still here.

Remember, we're talking about someone who hit multiple holes-in-one in one game.
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Old 07-13-09, 12:13 PM
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re: North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

If there is anyone on the planet who would like to just fire off a few nukes before he goes, wouldn't this be the guy?
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Old 07-13-09, 12:27 PM
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re: North Korean Leader Is Very Ill, American Official Says [Update: Dead]

It depends on the progression of the disease as to how long he has.

I think the survival rate is something like 4-5%.
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