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U.S. and South Korean intelligence accurately predicted that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had only three to five years to live based on sensitive medical information obtained.
The CIA and South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) received a CT scan of Kim’s head immediately after he suffered a stroke on Aug. 15, 2008, sources knowledgeable about U.S.-South Korea relations said.
After the stroke, a French medical doctor was invited to Pyongyang to open a small hole into Kim’s skull. Additional medical treatments were performed by Chinese doctors, enabling Kim to return to his public duties in November 2008.
CIA and NIS officers analyzed the CT scan image to determine the North Korean leader’s brain condition.
One conclusion reached was that there was an extremely high possibility Kim would suffer another stroke within three to five years.
Intelligence officers also learned that Kim suffered from diabetes. Given the severity of the symptoms, the officers concluded that another stroke would likely lead to Kim’s death.
After returning to his official duties, Kim undertook a concerted effort to pave the way for his third son, Kim Jong Un, to take over. In addition to inspection tours within North Korea, the older Kim also made repeated trips to China and Russia.
“The stress involved in handing down power to his son likely resulted in the shortening of Kim Jong Il’s life,” a source said.
North Korean state media reported on Dec. 19, 2011, that Kim had died two days earlier. Three years and four months had passed since the stroke.
Dec. 17 marked the fifth anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death, and Dec. 30 will be the fifth anniversary of Kim Jong Un assuming the post of supreme military commander.
Feb. 16, 2017, will be the 75th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s birth.
2016.12.23 / 12:36