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No major trouble for N. Korean leader's rule: S. Korean JCS chief

All Headlines 16:31 October 13, 2014

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-un appears to have no major difficulties in maintaining his grip on power, the head of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Monday.

Diverse speculations and rumors on the current state of the North's young leader Kim Jong-un have continued to spread ranging from his health problems to a military coup, as Kim has not been seen in public for more than a month. He even skipped last week's national events marking the foundation of its ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

"As far as I know, (Kim Jong-un) does not have major problems in ruling the country," Adm. Choi Yun-hee told the parliamentary audit in response to the question by Rep. Chung Mi-kyung of the ruling Saenuri Party about whether Kim has been brain dead.

Noting that he has "been informed by his intelligence staff of relevant developments in the North," Choi said the leader "is not in such a state," though he kept silent when asked if Kim "is completely fine."

His comments echoed South Korea's Defense Minister Han Min-koo who said last week that Kim "stays in Pyongyang" while maintaining his control over the communist country.

The young leader took helm of the country upon the death of his father Kim Jong-il in late 2011, with officials and analysts having said he has since consolidated power.

Kim last appeared in public on Sept. 3 to attend a concert and had been seen limping in recent video footage, which incited suspicions of him suffering from gout.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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