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U.S. Defense Chief Expresses Concern Over N. Korea

Posted September. 20, 2008 09:13,   


U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday that the United States is keeping a close eye on North Korea’s situation and is concerned over potential instability.

"I think all of North Korea’s neighbors are concerned about instability in no small part because of the possibility of large flows of refugees," he told a news conference in London.

Gates said, however, that Washington has no clear grasp of the situation in Pyongyang. "We are looking at that, but at this point it is not entirely clear how seriously ill he is, what the circumstances are," he said.

In Pyongyang, Hyon Hak Bong, deputy chief of the U.S. affairs bureau at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, denied reports of Kim’s ill health, saying, “The rumors are the sophistry of bad people who wish ill will toward our country.”

In talks on energy aid to the North under a six-party agreement at the truce village of Panmunjom, Hyon told reporters, “Those reports do not surprise us and our unity will not be affected by them.”

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