London, Nov 8 : Democratic People's Republic of Korea is being governed by the brother-in-law of the country's supreme leader, Kim Jong Il, after he suffered serious ill health three months ago, South Korean experts have concluded.
Kim had undergone brain surgery following a stroke and has been out of public view since then. Recently, the official Korean Central News Agency released pictures of the "Dear Leader" to end speculation over his ailing health
Government officials and academic North Korea watchers have received intelligence suggesting that Chang Sung Taek (62), who runs the totalitarian state's secret police, is making key decisions while the "Dear Leader" convalesces, The Times reported.
They believe that Kim is conscious and probably capable of walking, but that he remains weak after what appears to have been a sudden stroke suffered in the middle of August.
Despite the fact that Kim has not formally named anyone to succeed him to the leadership of North Korea and its million-strong nuclear-equipped army, the Government appears to be functioning normally for the time being with no obvious signs of instability.
A graduate of the Kim Il-sung Senior High School, Chang studied abroad in Moscow between 1969 and 1972. After returning to North Korea he married Kim Kyong-hui, the younger sister of Kim Jong-il.
He was formerly the vice-director of the Workers' Party of Korea's organisation and guidance department and had been identified by outside analysts as a possible successor to Kim Jong-il.
In October 2007, Chang had been promoted to the newly recreated post of first vice-director of the Workers' Party of Korea, with oversight responsibility for the police, judiciary, and other areas of internal security.