Monday, June 11, 2007

Is Kim Jong-Il Ill?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is ill and may need heart surgery. Kim cannot walk more than 30 yards and is accompanied by an assistant carrying a chair so he can sit and catch his breath. A team of six doctors from the German Heart Institute in Berlin flew to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, for eight days last month. The German team later denied they examined Kim.Kim, 65, has appeared in public 23 times this year, compared with 42 times at the same point last year. He has ruled North Korea since his father, the country's founder, Kim Il Sung, died in 1994. Kim has been grooming two of his sons for a greater role in government. Some observers predict, however, that Kim's rule might be followed by a collective military leadership, which could open the tightly controlled country to the rest of the world