N. Korea Kim's sister 'treated in Russia'

3rd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is believed to have received medical treatment in Russia after disappearing from public view for two months, according to a report.

Kim Kyong-Hui, a key influence on the communist leader's youngest son and heir apparent Kim Jong-Un, was spotted by South Korean tourists at Moscow airport early last month walking with a stoop, the Yonhap news agency reported.

"Minister Kim is believed to have been treated in Moscow for her chronic back pain," an unnamed source was quoted as saying. Kim serves as light industry minister.

"Protected by several North Korean bodyguards, she was stooped, with her back bent like a sick person. She also seemed to have difficulties with walking."

The 65-year-old, who acted as a guardian for Kim Jong-Un after the death of his mother in 2004 and is thought to have been a key figure in grooming him for succession, is said to have returned home in recent days.

As Kim Jong-Il's only surviving sibling, she wields great influence over the North's ruling communist party and military elites.

Despite having little in the way of a military background, she was promoted last September to become a four-star general and she has also been elected to the communist party's influential political bureau.

© 2011 AFP

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