The CIA has told South Korean intelligence that the chances of ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il surviving another five years are one in three.
A South Korean government source on Friday said the CIA last month informed intelligence authorities here of a long-distance analysis of Kim's health that suggests there is a 71 percent probability of Kim, who has been battling complications from a stroke and diabetes, dying within the next five years.
The CIA speculation is apparently based on analysis of medical data including Kim's age, medical history, physical condition, and changes in his physical condition between the time of the stroke and more recently. It indexed Kim's physical condition based on various intelligence reports including brain scan pictures obtained by South Korean intelligence and testimonies of senior informants, in addition to information such as photos of Kim's on-the-spot guidance tours.
The Washington Times last Thursday gave Kim even less time. "New reports from U.S. and diplomatic sources say that the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il continues to decline and that he may have only one more year to live," the daily said.
South Korean intelligence services agree that Kim is not in a good health, but different agencies apparently have different views about how serious his condition is.