Thursday, September 09, 2010
Image via WikipediaNorth Korea marks 62nd anniversary and awaits next Kim off the rank | World news | guardian.co.uk
Dictator Kim Jong-il apparently too ill to hold party congress where he is expected to anoint son Kim Jong-un as next leader
North Korea has marked its 62nd anniversary today amid speculation that its dictator, Kim Jong-il, is not well enough to open a rare meeting of ruling party members that could see his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, effectively named the country's leader in waiting.
As North Koreans made pilgrimages to a giant statue of the country's founder, Kim Il-sung, Korea watchers speculated on the precise timing of the congress, the Korean Workers' party's first major gathering for 30 years.
Some had expected the meeting to begin early this month, but new reports from South Korea suggested it had been postponed due to Kim Jong-il's health. The 68-year-old is widely believed to have had a stroke in 2008 and is said to be suffering from kidney trouble and diabetes.
Open Radio for North Korea, a Seoul-based group with a network of informers in the north, attributed the apparent delay to the start of the meeting to Kim Jong-il's physical condition.