March 03, 2010 08:07
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is suffering from depression, according Ha Tae-kyoung, the head of Open Radio for North Korea.
"Kim gets angry and fretful so often that his aides don't dare to look him in the face when reporting to him," Ha claimed on Feb. 25. "He has also cut the number of on-the-spot guidance tours by less than half" so his third son and heir apparent Jong-un is undertaking them on his behalf.
Pavel Ovsyannikov, the principal conductor of the 21st Century Orchestra of Moscow, visited Pyongyang in September to give a performance and later told a Japanese newspaper Kim smoked Marlboro cigarettes and "had a strong grip" when he shook his hand. He also said that Kim had a sharp memory and used both hands freely. This led to speculation that Kim has recovered his health.
But Ha claimed depression often leads to like excessive drinking and smoking. "It's true that he appears as if he has recovered his health, but in fact, his health is deteriorating."
Ha said Kim junior is being briefed by major agencies, while Pak Nam-gi, who has been dismissed from his post as the director of the Planning and Finance Department of the Workers Party for the recent bungled currency reform, has been replaced by a close aide to Kim Jong-un. "It seems that transition of power has been nearly completed," he added.
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