North Korea's Kim 'seen in public'

Kim Jong-il, has made a public appearance after reportedly suffering a stroke, the communist state's official news agency reported today.

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 9, 2003 and released by the Korean Central News Agency 12 September 2003 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il reviewing a massive military parade celebrating the 55th anniversary of the country in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung square.  North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has made a public appearance after reportedly suffering a stroke, the communist state's official news agency reported on October 4, 2008.  AFP PHOTO/KCNA/KNS/FILES *** Local Caption ***  407697-01-08.jpg
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The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, has made a public appearance after reportedly suffering a stroke, the communist state's official news agency reported today. The Korean Central News Agency report said he attended a student football match on the 62nd anniversary of Kim Il-sung University. Mr Kim, 66, failed to appear at a Sept 9 anniversary parade, triggering speculation about his health. South Korean officials said he underwent brain surgery following a stroke but is recovering well.

North Korean officials and media have had no comment on Kim's health. "There was the football match between teams of Kim Il-sung University and Pyongyang University of Railways that day, at which the former beat the latter 4-1," KCNA said. "After watching the match, leader Kim Jong-il congratulated the players on their good results, saying that the revolutionary and militant students in our country are good at art and sporting activities while devoting all their wisdom and enthusiasm to the study of science for the country and the people," the agency said.

The report did not make clear on which day the match took place. Mr Kim's last public appearance was reported on Aug 14, when he was said to have inspected a military unit on an unspecified date. His reported illness coincides with major problems in a 2007 aid-for-disarmament deal with the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia. North Korea began disabling its Yongbyon nuclear complex in November last year in anticipation of one million tons of fuel aid. But it has recently been backtracking from the deal, blaming the US for breaking its promise by not removing the North from a terrorist blacklist, despite Pyongyang's nuclear declaration in June. Last week the North announced it was making preparations to restart its plutonium reprocessing plant. Mr Kim's health is the subject of intense speculation since he has not publicly nominated a successor. He officially took over from his own father, founding president Kim Il-sung, in 1997. * AFP