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(LEAD) China sees no abnormal signs in N. Korea amid Kim's absence

All Headlines 19:11 October 13, 2014

(ATTN: RECASTS to fix slug)

BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- China has told South Korea that it has not detected any abnormal signs in North Korea as the North's young leader Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public for more than five weeks, a South Korean diplomatic source said Monday.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also played down a wave of speculation over Kim's longest absence from public view since he took power in late 2011.

Kim has been absent from public view since Sept. 3 and North Korean media has unusually acknowledged that he was suffering from bodily "discomfort." Kim missed a key national event celebrating the founding of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea on Friday with high-level party and military officials, fueling speculation about his health.

"South Korea and China have regularly exchanged information about the matter, but China has notified our side that there are no abnormal signs in North Korea," the source said.

"Also, none of the speculations about Kim's health and leadership are seen credible," the source said.

Kim Yang-gon, a secretary at the North's Workers' Party who visited South Korea on Oct. 5, told South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae that there was "no problem at all" with the North Korean leader's health, Ryoo said.


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