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N. Korean leader back in heels again
SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has recently begun sporting his trademark high-heeled shoes again, a development that could raise an intriguing question about whether his health has improved.

   Kim had sported high-heeled shoes that increased his height to what is believed to be 162 centimeters, or about 5'3", before he reportedly suffered a stroke in 2008. Since then, he has switched to sneakers and flat dress shoes.

  



But a photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday showed Kim wearing a pair of shoes with 2- to 3-cm-high heels during an inspection tour.

   These heels are bit lower than those on the shoes he had previously donned during official events, including his summit with then South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun in 2007 when Kim wore shoes with 6- to 7-cm-high heels.

  


The reappearance of Kim's signature shoes may signal that his health has improved, though details were not immediately available.

   Meanwhile, Kim's brother-in-law, Jang Song-thaek, reportedly plans to visit China's northeastern areas to discuss economic cooperation with China, the North's key ally and main benefactor.

   Jang, vice chairman of the North's powerful National Defense Commission, plans to visit China on Saturday, according to sources in Dandong and Changchun, major cities in northeastern China.

  (END)
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