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North Korea's Kim keeps up factory visits despite illness [View All]

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Coventina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-14-09 10:20 AM
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North Korea's Kim keeps up factory visits despite illness
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Source: Washington Post

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean media said on Tuesday that leader Kim Jong-il was keeping up a busy schedule of visits around the country, a day after a South Korean television station said he had life-threatening pancreatic cancer.

The reclusive state's media has often shown Kim touring factories, farms and military bases this year, trying to convey a sense of normalcy for North Koreans during a period of uncertainty in the impoverished country, experts said.

They said such trips could also be as helpful at building internal support for the 67-year-old leader as recent nuclear and missile tests, military moves seen as partly driven by Kim's efforts to pave the way for succession to his youngest son.

"If his appearance has changed severely, it may only reinforce the view of the North Korean public that Kim Jong-il is going out of his way to work for them, which increases sympathy from the people," said Koh Yu-hwan, a specialist on the North's leadership at the South's Dongguk University.

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