S Korea: Talking about Kim's illness may hurt ties

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A senior South Korean official is warning his country against talking about North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's reported stroke.

The official in charge of relations with the North says North Korea could see discussion of Kim's health as an "act of hostility." North Korea has denied that Kim is sick.

The remark follows media criticism of the South Korean government for releasing intelligence on Kim's health. The critics say it could result in the exposure of key informants and reveal the ways South Korea collects sensitive information about the North.

Speculation about Kim spiked last week after he failed to appear at a key ceremony marking the communist country's foundation 60 years ago.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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