Jeffrey LewisKim Jong Ill?

Did Kim Jong Il stroke out? Maybe.


10 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — US intelligence official says North Korean leader Kim Jong Il may have suffered a stroke.

Choe Sang-hun in the New York Times reports that he hasn’t been seen since mid-August. Reports of ill-health have followed Kim since the 1990s (see the comments), though they seem to have gotten more serious in the last year or so.

[Update: Full AP story by Pamela Hess is now up. US intelligence community is suspicious because Kim missed the parade for National Day.]

By the way, there is an entire conspiracy theory dedicated to the idea that he shuffled off this mortal coil in 2003 and was replaced by a fake. Some people have too much free time.


  1. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

    March 29, 1995, Wednesday

    internal affairs;
    Experts assess Kim Chong-il’s health

    SOURCE: Source: ‘Chungang Ilbo’, Seoul, in Korean 28 Mar 95 p 6

    SECTION: Part 3 Asia – Pacific; NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA; north korea; FE/2264/D

    LENGTH: 260 words

    Excerpt from report by South Korean newspaper ‘Chungang Ilbo’

    Has Kim Chong-il really recovered his health? Some overseas Koreans who recently visited North Korea say that Kim’s health has improved considerably. North Korean experts in the ROK say, however, reports of Kim’s recovery are not very reliable because Kim suffers from various geriatric diseases, such as heart disease, liver disease and diabetes, from which it is quite difficult to recover.
    They express doubt over the reports of the overseas Koreans and suspect that they were deceived by the North Korean authorities’ crafty fabrication to demonstrate Kim’s good health.

    The source cited, as evidence of Kim’s recovery of health, his recent appearance on North Korean television. Reports say, at his appearance at the army agitators’meeting on 1st and 28th January, Kim’s face looked healthier and his step was quicker than before, thereby showing that his health had improved. Experts note, however, that because Kim has inherited heart disease from his father (Kim Il-sung) and suffers from such diseases as diabetes, deterioration of the liver and arrhythmia, temporary signs of vigoUr should not be considered as a recovery of his health. They maintain that Kim’s health is so bad the temporary recovery is of little significance. They also maintain that it is highly likely that Kim’s appearance on North Korean television was largely the result of fabrication. It is reported that he has his face made up to conceal his sickly complexion when appearing on television…