Kim Jong, Ill?

Kim Jong-Il


How ill is Kim Jong Il? Talk of the reclusive North Korean leader’s health emerged anew this week when he made a rare public appearance Tuesday in a surprise meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Pyongyang. Chinese television footage showed Kim shaking hands with the guest and brandishing a big smile.

That image was the first publicly available video of the secretive Kim since late April when he reviewed a massive military parade from a balcony over Pyongyang’s main plaza, clapping and waving to his troops as they hysterically shouted cheers, appearing deeply moved by a rare glimpse of Kim.

The 65-year-old leader — revered as a near-demigod in the totalitarian nation — looked generally well in the latest footage. But compared with the April clip, he appeared a bit thinner and had less hair. Some South Korean media made similar observations, and engaged in renewed speculation about his health.


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