May 14, 2015 11:53
South Korean intelligence services on Tuesday denied rumors that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's aunt was poisoned and died.
In a closed-door session of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee on Wednesday morning, National Intelligence Service officers were quoted by lawmakers as saying there is no intelligence suggesting foul play in Kim Kyong-hui's ill health, and she is still alive.
The rumor was first reported by CNN on Monday, quoting a senior North Korean defector who said she died last May. But NIS officers told lawmakers she received treatment at a hospital in Pyongyang in January this year.
Kim Kyong-hui is the widow of former eminence grise Jang Song-taek, who was executed in 2013.
The NIS recently found itself with egg on its face when it confidently predicted Kim Jong-un would go to Moscow for World War II anniversary celebrations -- a day before Russia announced he had canceled.
On Wednesday, the spy agency also denied that the North doctored photos of the test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile last Friday or fired the missile not from a submarine but from a nearby barge. A lawmaker who was in the meeting said the barge was merely "on standby."
"The test-launch was not aimed at measuring how high it would fly but on whether it was possible to launch it from a submarine," another lawmaker said. "That's why the missile was seen flying obliquely the moment it came out of the water.
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