South Korean authorities say they are checking reports Saturday that
North Korean diplomats around the world have been ordered to await a
major announcement from their government.
A Japanese newspaper reported that Pyongyang told diplomats to stop all travel and wait for
what it called "an important message" that could come within a few days.
report in the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper suggests the announcement may
concern North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's health or a major change in
policy toward South Korea.
South Korea's defense minister, Lee
Sang-hee, said Friday he believes that Kim Jong Il remains in control
of the North Korean government, based on U.S. and South Korean
South Korean intelligence sources have
speculated Mr. Kim suffered a stroke in mid-August after he failed to
appear in public for more than a month. Still photographs of Mr. Kim
appeared in North Korean media last week but experts questioned whether
the still photos were recent.
Earlier this week, North Korea
threatened to cut off ties with South Korea, citing what it says is a
"hostile policy" towards Pyongyang.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.