September 9, 2008

Report: Kim Jong Il Misses Military Parade

Analysts were questioning the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il Tuesday after he reportedly failed to appear in Pyongyang for a military parade.

The 66-year-old ruler of North Korea's communist regime was to attend Tuesday's event marking the 60th anniversary of North Korea's founding but a Japanese report indicated Kim didn't make an appearance, the South Korean news agency Yonhap said.

As the speculation about Kim's health swirled, international observers were waiting to see if the parade at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung square would be held. It was, Yonhap reported, showcasing the country's army and including vows to strengthen it but was a relatively curtailed event.

No mention has been made of public appearances by Kim in North Korea's state-run media since mid-August, raising speculation that he may be in ill health, The New York Times reported.

South Korean intelligence officials have said Kim suffers from chronic heart disease and diabetes. The South's largest daily, Chosun Ilbo, reported Tuesday that Kim collapsed in late August but Seoul wasn't able to verify the claim, the Times said.