10 Apr 2009

North Korea leader at first state event since illness

3:05 pm on 10 April 2009

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has made his first appearance at a major state event since he was suspected of suffering a stroke last year.

The country's state television showed Mr Kim attending an annual meeting of the country's parliament on Thursday.

Mr Kim, 67, had been conspicuously absent from major public events after the suspected stroke, which raised questions about his iron grip over the impoverished communist country and whether anyone was waiting in the wings to succeed him.

North Korea earlier renewed Kim Jong-il in his post as its supreme military leader at the newly elected parliament, marking his return to centre stage as the country celebrated what it calls a triumphant satellite launch on the weekend.

North Korean said it launched a satellite it launched into space on Sunday, while the United States, Japan and South Korea say it was a long-range ballistic missile.