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North Korea says reports on Kim’s health are false

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Thursday, Oct 23, 2008

North Korea’s state media said on Thursday that recent news reports about its leader Kim Jong-il’s health were false, in their first direct comment on the reclusive ruler’s suspected illness.

Japan’s daily Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported at the weekend that North Korean diplomats have been told to stay close to their missions and await “an important message.” The paper speculated that it may be an announcement about Kim’s health.

“The army and people of the DPRK (North Korea) hold the prestige of their top leader dearer than their lives and will never tolerate any act of defaming it,” the KCNA news agency said, calling the Japanese newspaper report “a whopping lie.”

U.S. and South Korean officials said Kim may have suffered a stroke in August, raising questions about leadership in Asia’s only communist dynasty.

This article was posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 3:40 am

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