There is further speculation in North Korea about the health of the country’s leader. Kim Jong-il has failed to turn up for the funeral of one of the most senior members of the communist state.
Sixty-six-year old Kim is reported to have suffered a stroke and there are mounting questions about whether he is fit enough to appear in public. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso says intelligence indicates that Kim is more than likely to be in hospital but is still in control of the state.
The leader was conspicuously absent from gala ceremonies in September to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the state’s founding. This month, North Korean media reported two public appearances, but experts in the South claim the footage was likely to have been shot before Kim’s reported illness.