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Health Worries for Kim Jong Il’s Son?

Posted February. 15, 2006 04:43,   


Kim Jong Chul (photo), the 25-year-old second son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and his most likely heir, is reportedly suffering from a medical hormone problem, and there is speculation that he may have lost his spot in the country’s succession hierarchy.

A source said on Monday that Jong Chul’s disorder is considered a crucial hindrance to his succession chances, according to an intelligence agency.

Last year, Japanese media outlets reported that Korea and the U.S. have been working to verify Jong Chul’s condition and that the Korean government has proof that he was treated in Europe.

The Japanese magazine Shukan Gendai recently said that the central steering committee of North Korea’s ruling party proclaimed that it would appoint Jong Chul to the party’s upper ranks based on a North Korean government document titled: “Orders from the Central Committee of the Labor Party.” But a Korean government official has stated that there is not enough evidence to back up that claim.

Professor Lim Seung-gil of the Yonsei University College medical school’s Department of Internal Medicine says people who suffer from the kind of hormonal secretion problem Jong Chul is suffering from secrete an excessive amount of female hormones. Lim also said that the condition is not serious as long as enough male hormones are secreted or given to compensate. He warned, however, that primary causes of excessive female hormones in men are tumors on the subject’s testicles, or serious liver problems.

Jong Chul was born between Kim Jong Il and his third wife, Ko Young Hee (who died in 2004 at the age of 51), and is known to be popular in North Korean military circles.

Myoung-Gun Lee Jin-Han Lee gun43@donga.com likeday@donga.com