Enigmatic Kim Jong-il & the future of North Korea’s nuclear arms

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The news is abuzz with speculations that Kim Jong-il, the strong communist leader of North Korea, one of the most secretive and reclusive communist regimes in the world with strong military power is incapacitated.

Short, pudgy, and known for his platform shoes and liking for Hollywood movies, the bouffant-haired strongman (believe to be 67 years old,) is suspected to be ill, possibly downed by a stroke sometime in the middle of last month. Since then he has not been visible in the government functions. Some theorize his death. Others believe he has been replaced by a double.

Amidst denial from the North Korean government, this brings a new uncertainty on the future of a repressive dictatorship in an impoverished nation which brings chills to the world for its possession of nuclear weapons. Jong-il’s alleged illness since August can stall the little gains of nuclear arms control brokered by the United States in the region. (Photo Credit: Nick Papniconstainou)=0=

Update:
On September 11, 2008, North and South Korean officials affirmed that Kim Jong-il had a stroke which required brain surgical intervention. It remains to be seen if full recovery is in the offing.=0=

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