What's in Store for North Korea After Kim

He's frail and sick and relies on a once disgraced brother-in-law. But don't expect huge changes when North Korea's leader leaves the stage

KNS / AFP / Getty

A feeble-looking Kim Jong Il inspects a swimming complex at a university in Pyongyang

This story has been updated

There are pictures released recently by the Korean Central News Agency, the propaganda arm of the North Korean government, that are meant to give the impression that Kim Jong Il is back running his benighted country after a stroke last summer. And then there are those shown here, of Kim at an indoor swimming pool. He looks old, frail and sick. The pictures, according to diplomats and intelligence analysts in East Asia and Washington, capture reality. Kim is 68, and though it is thought he has made a reasonable recovery, he has apparently not resumed all his...

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