Go to contents

Why N. Korea Called in Foreign Doctors

Posted September. 13, 2008 08:57,   


Whenever North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is rumored to be ill, news of foreign medical staff going to Pyongyang follows.

This time is no exception. Three Chinese doctors and two French medical teams are said to have secretly entered North Korea in mid-August.

Why does the North call in foreign medical staff at the risk of leaking the state of its leader`s health to the outside world?

Kim`s medical staff has state-of-the-art medical equipment and superb experts who can treat a stroke without difficulty.

Performing surgery on Kim, however, is like risking their lives as well as those of their families, all the more so if the prospects are unclear. If a surgical procedure leads to side effects, the medical staff will find themselves in big trouble.

Given this, Kim’s medical staff probably gave him immediate treatment and called in overseas medical staff afterwards.

Chinese doctors are the first to be called considering China`s proximity. Next in line are European doctors.

Though American and Japanese medical staff are also available, the North prefers those from its allies such as China, Russia and European countries.

The death of North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung in 1994 from angina showed the limitations of the Stalinist country`s medical staff.

Angina can easily be treated with a simple procedure if detected early. So chances are that Kim Il Sung’s doctors dragged their feet for fear of the consequences and failed to react quickly, making his condition worse.