When Kim Jong-Il failed to appear for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, it gave impetus to the rumors that he was ill.
Now, the North Koreans have confirmed that Kim had a stroke. He probably underwent surgery.
That same news article quoted a Nork diplomat employing the usual communist veracity as saying that reports about Kim are
"worthless" and a "conspiracy plot," adding that Western media "have reported falsehoods before"
meaning of course that everything the West has reported thus far is most likely true and that Kim's condition is far more serious than they are letting on.
This comes on the heels of a serious debate about whether Kim Jong-Il is actually alive at all. Toshimitsu Shigemura of Waseda University in Japan has posited that Kim died in 2003, and that body doubles have taken his place ever since. This would sound like a ridiculous theory about anyone else; but we are talking here about North Korea, a hermit kingdom of potemkin villages, paranoia and intense secrecy.
Meanwhile, more good news:
WASHINGTON - North Korea has quietly built a long-range missile base that is larger and more capable than an older and well-known launch pad for intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to independent analysts relying on new satellite images of the site and other data. Analysts provided images of the previously secret site to The Associated Press.
Construction on the site on North Korea's west coast began at least eight years ago, according to Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., senior analyst with Jane's Information Group, and Tim Brown with Talent-keyhole.com, a private satellite imagery analysis company. Bermudez first located the site in early spring and they have tracked its construction using commercial and unclassified satellite imagery.
"The primary purpose of the facility is to test," Bermudez told The Associated Press in an interview last week. A base capable of a long-range test could obviously be used in wartime to launch a missile that carried a warhead.