Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il reported to have suffered 'serious' stroke

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An official portrait of Kim Jong Il.

Unnamed officials from the United States have stated that the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il may have suffered a "serious" stroke. Officials state that the rumors of his illness began to spread Tuesday after he failed to make an appearance at the nation's 60th anniversary lent credence, an annual military parade.

"There is reason to believe Kim Jong Il has suffered a serious health setback, possibly a stroke," said an unnamed U.S. official who also added that he may have had the stroke about two weeks ago. The official also stated that his life was not in imminent danger.

Such reports have been denied by officials, including deputy leader and ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, who told Kyodo News of Japan frankly: "there are no problems."

Rumors of Kim's health started to spread in August, but the official said that his failure to attend the parade is an idea of how bad his condition is. Chosun Ilbo, a newspaper in South Korea first reported in August that an unnamed diplomat in Beijing, China said Kim had collapsed on August 22. According to the BBC, a South Korean official told the Yonhap News Agency that Kim "collapsed," while a North Korean official is quoted as saying the reports are "rubbish." There has been no official confirmation of those reports by either the South or North Korean governments.

Kim has attended the last 10 parades for the nation's military or other military events.