Report: Kim suffering spasms, but well enough to brush his teeth

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il is reportedly still suffering occasional spasms, but the reports say he's recovered enough from a stroke to brush his own teeth.

A South Korean newspaper quotes an unidentified Chinese official as saying the 66-year-old Kim is lucid and has no trouble speaking. The official met with the North Korean leader in the North Korean capital in recent weeks.

The spasms, however, are reportedly what kept Kim from attending his country's 60th anniversary celebrations on Tuesday. Kim is the object of a personality cult in the totalitarian nation and the sight of him with spasms before hundreds of thousands of people would have been an embarrassment for the regime.

Kim has been out of the public eye for weeks amid speculation that he's seriously ill.

The South Korean government has confirmed that Kim suffered a stroke but says he is not considered to be "in a serious condition" and remains in control of his country.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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