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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK
North's Kim denies health rumours
North Korea's Kim Jong-il on 2 October, 2007
Media reports said Mr Kim looked haggard at the start of the summit
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, has denied he has health problems, saying reports of him showing signs of illness were the work of "fiction writers".

Mr Kim, 65, has been the subject of persistent speculation about his health, and his appearance at a summit this week triggered more rumours.

He said media reports that he had diabetes and heart disease were untrue.

The press "exaggerate my slightest movement. It seems like they're fiction writers, not journalists," he said.

Surgery speculation

Mr Kim was speaking at a farewell lunch for South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun in Pyongyang on Thursday, at the end of an historic three-day summit between the two leaders.

His portly and haggard appearance at the start of the summit on Tuesday renewed media speculation about his health, although he looked more animated later when he met Mr Roh for formal talks.

South Korea's intelligence agency says Mr Kim has chronic heart disease and diabetes but that they are not serious enough to affect his public activities.

Mr Kim has reduced his official activities this year, and a month-long disappearance from public view in May prompted rumours of failing health.

A team of German doctors visited Pyongyang that month, sparking speculation among some foreign and local news media that Mr Kim might have had a heart operation.

The doctors denied performing any operation, and Mr Kim said he had invited the foreign physicians to help with his country's lagging research in heart surgery.

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