North Korean higher-ups today insisted Kim Jong Il is in fine health, the Washington Post reports, with one diplomat deriding reports to the contrary as a “conspiracy plot.” Kim missed a major military parade yesterday, and hasn’t been seen in more than a month. But though South Korea reports no unusual troop movements or military radio traffic, recent diplomatic twitches on nuclear disarmament, as well as a deal with Japan, might signal power struggles in Pyongyang.
South Korean consensus is that Kim is alive and lucid, but recovering from a serious health problem. US sources suspect he had a stroke on Aug. 14. But ultimately, “we don't know diddly about what is going on inside that closed country,” said one international studies expert.