One for Sports among Kim Jong Il’s Public Activities

According to a Chosun (North Korea) Central News Agency (KCNA) report of October 4th, Kim Jong Il viewed a soccer match between the Kim Il Sung University team and the Pyongyang Railroad University held in commemoration of the 62nd anniversary of the founding of Kim Il Sung University.

The last news of Kim Jong Il’s activities reported by the Chosun Central News Agency had been Kim’s military inspection of August 14th.

According to the analysis of North Korean media released on September 17th by the South Korean Ministry of Unification, Kim Jong Il had been involved in 75 public appearances this year, up until August 14th.

He participated in 42 military related activities, 5 diplomatic affairs and various other events. He viewed at least one or two artistic performances, but not once did he observe a sports game.

From August 1st to 14th, when the National Intelligence Service made public the claim that Kim Jong Il had had a stroke, he had appeared publicly 13 times. 11 were military inspections, one time was an economic inspection and one was an artistic performance.

Since Kim Il Sung’s death, this has been the third-longest term of sequestered life, around 50 days. Each time, he finally released news of his wellbeing through the press.

The longest one was after his father’s death, on September 8th, 1994; he disappeared from the North Korean media for 87 days. At the time, North Korean media reported that he was spending 100 days mourning for his father.

Second, at the time, around January 10, 2003, when North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and March 20, when the Iraq war broke out, Kim Jong Il was not seen for a total of 49 days. The withdrawal from the NPT triggered the start of a crisis; after participating in a banquet for a Russian delegation on February 12, Kim disappeared from the public sphere. After 49 days, a report was released that Kim had taken part in an onsite inspection at Kim Hyong Jik College, a military medical college.