Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kim Jong-il 'at football match'

Kim Jong-il 'at football match'

Kim Jong-il has not been seen in since mid-August

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il is reported to have made his first public appearance since rumours surfaced that he had suffered a stroke.

Mr Kim attended a student football match in Pyongyang, state media said.

The 66-year-old leader had not been seen since mid-August. US and South Korean officials said he had suffered a stroke and undergone brain surgery.

Mr Kim did not appear at a 9 September anniversary parade, but North Korean officials denied he was ill.

North Korea's state news agency, KCNA, reported that Mr Kim watched a football game to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of Kim Il-Sung University, named for his father, the founder of North Korea.

Kim Il-Sung University was reported to have beaten Pyongyang University of Railways 4-1.

The report did not say what day the game had taken place but the anniversary of Kim Il-Sung University is 1 October.

No-one has been named to succeed Mr Kim as leader.

His reported illness has come at a difficult time in international negotiations over North Korea's nuclear programme.

North Korea agreed last year to give up its nuclear programme in return for aid and diplomatic concessions but the deal has floundered in recent months.

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