Asia’s most dangerous man is dying: report | world | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Jul 21, 2017-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Asia’s most dangerous man is dying: report

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has life-threatening pancreatic cancer, a news report said on Monday, days after fresh images of him looking gaunt spurred speculation that his health was worsening following a reported stroke last year.

world Updated: Jul 14, 2009 00:45 IST

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has life-threatening pancreatic cancer, a news report said on Monday, days after fresh images of him looking gaunt spurred speculation that his health was worsening following a reported stroke last year.

The 67-year-old Kim was diagnosed with the cancer around the time he was felled by the stroke last summer, Seoul's YTN television reported, citing unidentified intelligence officials in South Korea and China. The report cited the officials saying the disease is “threatening” Kim’s life.

Pancreatic cancer is usually found in its final stage, and considering Kim's age, he is expected to live no more than five years, the report said.

South Korea's spy agency said it could not confirm the report.

Kim's health is a focus of intense media speculation due to concerns about instability in the North and a possible power struggle if he were to die without naming a successor. His third and youngest son, Kim Jong Un, has widely been reported as being groomed as heir, but the regime has made no announcement to the outside world.

North Korea’s closed nature and its state-controlled media make it all but impossible to verify reports about Kim's health and his successor.

Monday's report came after Kim last week made a rare public appearance at an annual memorial for his late father and North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung. It was only the second state event he has attended since the reported stroke.

Television footage showed him markedly thinner and with less hair. He also limped slightly, and the sides of his tightly pursed lips looked imbalanced in what were believed to be the effects of a stroke.

The images touched off speculation that he could have other health problems.

South Korea's spy agency has long suspected that Kim has diabetes and heart disease.

North Korea experts said the latest images of Kim show he is still fit enough to rule.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies, said he doubts the YTN report about pancreatic cancer because the number of Kim's “field-guidance” trips to workplaces has increased significantly this year.

“Would he be able to carry out such brisk activity while having pancreatic cancer?” Yang said.

Kim Jong-iltook over North Korea after his father died in 1994 of heart failure at age 82. He runs the North from his post as chairman of the National Defense Commission.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies, said he doubts the YTN report about pancreatic cancer because the number of Kim’s “field-guidance” trips to workplaces has increased significantly this year.

“Would he be able to carry out such brisk activity while having pancreatic cancer?” Yang said.

Kim Jong-iltook over North Korea after his father died in 1994 of heart failure at age 82. He runs the North from his post as chairman of the National Defense Commission.

The South’s spy agency believes that Kim’s 26-year-old youngest son, Jong Un, is sure to succeed his father, Seoul’s Chosun Ilbo daily reported on Monday, citing a recent report to the National Assembly by the National Intelligence Service.

The agency also reported that Kim Jong-ilis expected to officially designate the son as his successor in 2012, the centennial anniversary of late national founder Kim Il Sung's birth, the paper said.