09/11/2008, 00.00
NORTH KOREA - SOUTH KOREA
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Seoul: Kim Jong Il better following health problems

The South Korean government says the communist dictator had a circulatory problem and a possible stroke, but also says that he seems to be recovering and remains in command of the country. North Korea denounces Western conspiracies.

Pyongyang (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Although he has suffered from circulatory problems, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il seems to have begun a gradual recovery, and is still firmly "in command of the country". The news comes from official South Korean sources, which deny the recent rumors that the communist dictator is ailing and is preparing to pass the reins of command.

Kim Jing Il is "not seen to be in a serious condition", said Lee Dong-kwan, spokesman for South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, during the meeting held yesterday between the head of state and the security cabinet. The South Korean spy agency is also said to have confirmed the "improvement" of the North Korean leader's health.

For its part, North Korea has made efforts to dispel the doubts over the health of the communist leader, and is decrying Western conspiracies; last Tuesday, Kim's failure to participate in a military parade for the 60th anniversary of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea gave rise to the rumors about his condition.

South Korean information services say instead that he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and underwent treatment for an unspecified circulatory problem, but do not confirm the rumors that he had surgery for a stroke.

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