North Koreans call Kim Jong Il the "Dear Leader" and he holds absolute power in the Stalinist regime. (Getty Images)
Seoul, South Korea (AP) South Korea's spy agency says North Korea's Kim Jong Il is believed to be recovering from recent surgery.
South Korean lawmakers who were briefed today tell the Yonhap News Agency Kim had a cerebral hemorrhage but remains conscious and “is able to control the situation.”
Kim is 66 and has been out of the public eye for weeks. Yesterday he missed a parade marking the founding of the communist state 60 years ago.
Other top officials in the north deny Kim is sick and say there's nothing unusual about his missing the parade. They're calling reports questioning Kim's health a “conspiracy plot.”
Pyongyang's official Korean central news agency says Kim sent a birthday greeting today to Syria's leader.