'Pyjama present for North Korea's Kim'
North Korea's ailing leader Kim Jong-II received a pair of pyjamas and books on health as gifts from a visiting South Korean business executive. Pyongyang displays gifts Kim has received at an exhibition hall at Mount Myohyang. It is unclear if the pyjamas would go on show.world Updated: Aug 21, 2009 10:56 IST
North Korea's ailing leader Kim Jong-II received a pair of pyjamas and books on health as gifts from a visiting South Korean business executive, a newspaper reported on Friday.
The gifts were delivered on Sunday when Hyun Jung-Eun, chairwoman of the South's giant Hyundai Group, met Kim at the Mount Myohyang guest house north of Pyongyang, the JoongAng Daily said.
Hyundai and government officials refused to confirm the report.
The newspaper quoted an unidentified Hyundai official as saying: "Hyun prepared the gifts herself, and it's hard to figure out why she chose those."
The paper quoted a unification ministry official as suggesting she picked inexpensive presents because of United Nations sanctions against the North.
These cover items related to its nuclear and missile programmes as well as luxury goods. Kim is said to have had a taste for fine cognac and luxury foods -- at least until his reported stroke in August 2008.
Hyun may have chosen something inexpensive and practical so as not to burden the South Korean government, which would have had to authorise an expensive present, the ministry official was quoted as saying.
Others suggested she chose her presents in light of Kim's reported poor health. Visitors have said he appears to have recovered from his stroke, but he is visibly thinner and more gaunt.
Pyongyang displays gifts Kim has received at an exhibition hall at Mount Myohyang. It was unclear if the pyjamas would go on show.
Hyun's group pioneered joint projects with the North. She secured the release of a group employee and an agreement from Kim to restart tourism programmes and family reunions for South Koreans.