Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kim Jong-il appears "alert and agile"

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is using both hands freely, according to a Russian musician who met with Kim during a recent visit to Pyongyang, despite reports that his left hand remains paralyzed after a stroke last year.

Oleg Ovsyannikov, who was in the North for a concert celebrating the 61st anniversary of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, told Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun on Tuesday, Kim's "memories and speech were clear" and "he moved both of his hands freely and smoked cigarettes."

Kim also introduced the North Korean singers on stage to Ovsyannikov without any trouble, and manifest his good memory by reeling off a list of names of Russian lieder composers.

Kim also smoked (American-made Marlboro cigarettes), drank tea, and firmly shook hands with him during the conversation.

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