September 10, 2008

North Korean Diplomat Denies Kim Jong-Il Collapsed Agency

Text of report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap

SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Yonhap) - A North Korean diplomat denied Wednesday [ 10 September] the communist state's leader Kim Jong Il [Kim Cho'ng-il] has fallen sick, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.

"We see such reports as not only worthless, but rather as a conspiracy plot," North Korea's ambassador for normalization talks with Japan, Song Il-ho, was quoted as saying by Kyodo.

The comment came just moments after a South Korean government official, requesting anonymity, said Kim is "almost certain" to be sick and recently collapsed.

It is the first reaction from the North on the rising speculation about the health of its powerful leader, who was notably absent from the country's 60th anniversary ceremony Tuesday.

Originally published by Yonhap news agency, Seoul, in English 0247 10 Sep 08.

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