U.S. Official: Kim Jong Il May Have Had Stroke
Posted on Sep 9, 2008
Rumors are flying after the North Korean dictator skipped a parade in honor of the country’s 60th anniversary. A U.S. intelligence official said Kim apparently “suffered a health setback, potentially a stroke.” Or he could be fine. News travels slow out of the hermit kingdom.
No one quite knows what a post-Kim North Korea would look like, although in the short term, as the L.A. Times reports, his passing could derail nuclear disarmament negotiations.
Los Angeles Times:
Kim’s prolonged illness or death could have an important effect on the current international effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons. North Korea’s military is strongly opposed to the country surrendering such arms, and analysts believe its influence would grow if Kim were sidelined or dead.
However, some observers expressed caution about the latest reports of ill health.
“He is going to die sooner or later and eventually one of these reports about his health will be true, but this one is probably much ado about nothing,” said Andrei Lankov, a respected Pyongyang watcher and a professor at South Korea’s Kookmin University. He said the extreme secrecy about the North Korean regime made it unlikely that either the United States or South Korea had received reliable intelligence about Kim’s health.
Kim is reportedly in much worse health than this cherubic state portrait would suggest.