By Kang Hyun-kyung
South Korean and U.S. officials believe North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un Kim is probably being treated for an illness that caused him to limp in public, ruling out a scenario that he has been toppled from power.
"North Korea's state media confirmed that he suffered from discomfort. I think there is no reason to disbelieve it," Ministry of Unification spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol told The Korea Times.
Lim did not speculate on the gravity of Kim's condition, saying the ministry had only limited information.
Multiple diplomatic sources in Washington reportedly said Kim was being treated for a relatively minor ankle problem.
"We understand that Kim is suffering from a disease that resulted in edemas and blisters on the joint," Yonhap News Agency quoted a source as saying. "We were told the disease requires him to get treatment for a long period and that he needs surgery."
Asking for anonymity, a government official said Korea and the U.S. would exchange intelligence and information on the issue.