Cross posted from Susan Duclos' Wake Up America
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
U.S Intelligence and media around the world believe North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, has suffered a stroke, noting that Kim didn't attend the 60th anniversary celebration of North Korea's founding.Kim Jong Il, the 66-year-old dictator failed to appear at the 60th anniversary of North Korea's founding, fueling speculation that Kim had suffered some sort of serious health crisis.It is believed that on August 22, 2008, Kim suffered a stroke although no confirmation has been obtained.U.S officials are watching the developments closely due to ongoing negotiations with Kim regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons position.The LA Times reports a South Korean newspaper stated that Kim collapsed on the 22nd of August and his not appearing at the anniversary ceremony has sparked concerns over his health.The Associated Press lists a number of possible successors, including Kim Jong Nam, 37, who fell out of favor, Kim Jong Chol, 27, Kim Jong Un, whom the AP suggests was a favorite of Kim's and Kim Yong Nam, 80, who serves as the country's top diplomat.Bloomberg reports phone calls to the North Korean mission to the UN were answered by an unnamed person who denied reports that Kim has suffered a stroke, then promptly hung up.
The last public appearance documented for Kim was on August 14, 2008 when state news reported he inspected a military unit and while it is not uncommon for Kim to disappear for lengths of time, his missing the 60th anniversary of the country's founding is notable because he appeared for the 50th anniversary as well as the 55th.According to a respected Pyongyang watcher and a professor at South Korea's Kookmin University, Andrei Lankov, if Kim were to die or be unable to perform the duties of the leader it could create chaos in the country as he states, "When he does die, it will be havoc because there is no mechanism in place for power transfer. There will be a lot of contenders for supremacy. Unless we have somebody who will be charismatic, ruthless and popular, we will probably see open clashes in Pyongyang, maybe shooting."Speculation has also been fueled by recent reports from Japan and a new book which alleges that Kim has been dead since 2003 and a look-alike has been making appearances ever since. Those reports are in The Telegraph.
No matter what happened to the little dictating lunatic, with no known successor, things can get a lot more volatile should some of the more extreme factions that are against giving up nuclear weapons, take control.