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N. Korea denies Kim Jong Il health 'conspiracies'

  • Story Highlights
  • N. Korean official reportedly rejects claims Kim Jong Il suffered stroke
  • No sign of president at parade marking 60th anniversary of N. Korea
  • U.S. official says it is possible he has suffered a stroke
  • Kim has previously denied reports he has heart disease and diabetes
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(CNN) -- North Korea on Wednesday denied claims that its reclusive leader Kim Jong Il is seriously ill and may have suffered a stroke, granting a rare interview to a foreign media outlet to dismiss what it said were "conspiracy theories."

Second-in-command Kim Yong Nam told Japan's Kyodo News that claims by Western officials of the Kim Jong Il's poor health were baseless, although the leader failed to appear at the Stalinist country's 60th anniversary celebrations.

A senior North Korean diplomat dismissed reports that Kim was ill as "a conspiracy plot," Kyodo reported.

"We see such reports as not only worthless, but rather as a conspiracy plot," Song Il Ho, North Korea's ambassador for normalization talks with Japan, was quoted as saying.

Kim's absence from an anniversary parade and other events the night before revived questions about the president's health. The leader has denied reports that he suffers from heart disease and diabetes.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak held a meeting Wednesday with his senior secretaries on the matter, a source at his office told the nation's Yonhap news agency.

"Lee discussed countermeasures to a possible serious illness of the North Korean leader during his unscheduled meeting with senior presidential secretaries," Yonhap quoted Cheong Wa Dae, a source at the presidential office, as saying. Video Watch the massive military parade in Pyongyang »

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Tuesday the White House was aware of the reports that Kim had suffered a stroke, but has no additional information.

North Koreans filled Pyongyang's main square, which can hold about 100,000 people, she said.

Participating in the parade were paramilitary troops, which are not part of North Korea's regular army -- there were no members of the regular army, navy or air force, Aoki said.

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There were anti-aircraft and anti-tank artillery on display, but no tanks or missiles, she added.

Kim also holds the post of supreme commander of the Korean People's Army.

CNN's Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

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