TV reports in South Korea claim Kim Jong-il has pancreatic cancer.
The information concerning the North Korean leader is said to be based on intelligence sources. Nevertheless, Kim’s health remains a topic of wild speculation. Last year, the 67-year-old was thought to have suffered a stroke, but no official confirmation was forthcoming. The latest rumour raises questions about Kim’s succession and who will control the North’s nuclear weapons programme. The view from Seoul is that Pyongyang’s recent missile launches, and a nuclear test in May, are linked to efforts to pave the way for Kim’s youngest son to take over.