Kim regains left arm movement
Seoul - North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il has apparently regained movement in his left arm after being partially paralysed by a stroke three years ago, a South Korean official said on Wednesday.
Video footage of Kim meeting a visiting Chinese leader on Monday showed him freely moving his left hand and arm, although he was still dragging his left leg.
"Movement has returned to his left arm since May when he visited China, even if the movement is not quite natural," a spokesperson for Seoul's unification ministry quoted the official as saying on condition of anonymity.
The Korea JoongAng Daily said Kim's improved condition was evident in the footage aired on Tuesday by China's state television, compared to film taken during his visit to China in May.
The latest footage showed Kim wrapping his left hand around the hand of Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang as they shook hands, and moving it freely as they talked.
At a meeting with President Hu Jintao in Beijing in May, Kim only used his right hand to move papers and his left hand dangled awkwardly.
Kim's apparent partial recovery was also visible in August during a visit to Russia, when he was seen using his left hand to support a tray of bread and salt offered as a traditional welcoming gesture.
Analysts closely watch photos and footage of the 69-year-old all-powerful leader for clues about his health after he suffered his stroke in August 2008. Recent photos show he has regained some of the weight he lost at that time.
The leader has selected his youngest son Jong-Un as eventual successor, but the timing of the transition appears partly linked to the state of the father's health.