South Korea: No signs of "important announcement" from North

Other News Materials 20 October 2008 17:55 (UTC +04:00)

South Korea said Monday that it saw no indications that North Korea was preparing to make an "important announcement," as reported in a weekend media report that gave rise to speculation about the fate and health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, reported dpa.

There was nothing unusual about North Korean media reports and private inter-Korean exchanges were proceeding normally, a spokesman for the Unification Ministry in Seoul said.

On Sunday, Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported that the important announcement was imminent, possibly coming Monday, citing an unnamed Japanese government official. It said the communist government had ordered officials at its embassies to remain at their posts in readiness for the announcement.

Kim has not been seen in public since the middle of August, giving rise to speculation that he was seriously ill. North Korea denied the speculation.

South Korean Defence Minister Lee Sang Hee said Friday on a visit to Washington that he believed Kim continued to exercise control of North Korea.