, SEOUL, Jul 13 – North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has cancer and may not live more than five years, a South Korean cable news channel has reported.
Seoul’s unification ministry said it had no information on the YTN report, which came days after Kim, 67, appeared on television looking gaunt.
The TV news channel said the leader of the isolated nuclear-armed nation was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around the time of his suspected stroke last August.
It cited intelligence sources in Seoul and Washington.
YTN, quoting medical sources in Beijing, said Kim may not live more than five years given the high mortality rate for such a cancer and his advanced age.
Seoul’s National Intelligence Service said it could not confirm the report, which came three days after Japanese TV network TBS reported Kim is suffering from a "serious disorder" of the pancreas.
TBS reported that Kim has been resting and is being treated at his villa in the south-eastern area of Wonsan by a team of specialists.
Kim’s health is the subject of intense international attention since there has been no announcement to the outside world about who would succeed him.
Tensions between the hard-line communist state and the international community are currently high over its missile and nuclear programmes.
Seoul intelligence officials have been quoted as saying that Kim has nominated his youngest son Jong-Un, 26, as his successor.
State TV last week showed Kim limping slightly and with thinning hair when he made a televised appearance to pay homage to his late father Kim Il-Sung at a national memorial service.