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N. Korean leader's aunt being treated on outskirts of Pyongyang: sources

16:54 August 31, 2017

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's once-powerful aunt is receiving medical treatment in seclusion on the outskirts of Pyongyang, multiple sources said Thursday, amid a flurry of rumors over her health and safety.

The National Intelligence Service told the parliament's intelligence committee Tuesday that Kim Kyong-hui, the 71-year-old sister of the current leader's late father Kim Jong-il, has stayed low-key away from politics, the sources said, declining to be named.

Since December 2013 when her husband, Jang Song-thaek, was executed for plotting to overthrow the authoritarian regime, she has stepped down from all powerful posts and been out of the public eye.

Kim Kyong-hui (KCNA-Yonhap file photo)

Her absence has given rise to the speculation that she may be in critical condition, suffering from various illnesses including cancer, dementia, depression and heart disease.

Following the death of her brother in December 2011, Kim Kyong-hui was seen as one of the most trusted guardians for the young North Korean leader, who took the reins of the impoverished country after only a few years of grooming.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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