Lies and Whispers

Is Kim the Successor in charge? Amid mixed signals and ambiguous evidence, only the question is clear.

Not only are strange things happening in Pyongyang, but things that should be happening are not. Kim Jong Il, North Korea's newly promoted Great Leader, has not appeared in public since his father's funeral on July 20. On that occasion he stood by, pale and puffy, as others spoke. Since then he has not said a word to his 22 million subjects. He has not met with representatives of any other country. And he has not been officially installed as President or as General Secretary of the communist Workers' Party -- positions held by Kim Il Sung at his death.

Though...