Seoul denies Kim Jong Il under arrest

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- South Korean officials Friday denied a Japanese news report that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is under house arrest amid a power struggle.

Japan's Jiji Press said Kim was absent from Pyongyang at a time when his aides were involved in an intense power struggle.


Kim may be under house arrest by the military, possibly at his luxury villa at Wonsan on the east coast, the news agency said, citing an unidentified South Korean source. Or he may have suffered a decline in his health, it said.

"We see no signs backing the news report," said an official at Seoul's intelligence agency. Seoul's Unification Ministry also denied the report as groundless.

In Tokyo, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki also said Japan "has not heard information of that kind."

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