SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- Iran has confirmed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will not attend a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit to be hosted by Tehran next week, a senior Seoul official said Wednesday, denying a published foreign news report that Kim would take part.
"We verified from Iran's Foreign Ministry that the report is not true," the senior official at Seoul's foreign ministry said on condition of anonymity.
Iran confirmed that North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, will attend the summit, the official said, adding the report may be a result of "misunderstanding" of remarks by a spokesman for the summit quoted in local media.
Earlier in the day, the German news agency DPA, citing remarks by summit spokesman Mohammad-Reza Forqani quoted on the Iranian Tabnak news Web site, reported the North's young leader would attend the upcoming summit.
The new leader Kim, who is believed to be in his late 20s, took the helm of North Korea last December after his father, Kim Jong-il, died. Since then, he appears to have solidified his grip on power, but concerns persist over the communist regime's stability.
Outwardly at least, Kim has put different stamp on the regime from his ruthless father with the North's propaganda machines depicting him as a warm and fun figure and publicly confirming he has married.
Outside analysts have closely watched the North's new leader for any clues to the direction in which Kim will take the communist regime that has ambitions for nuclear weapons capability.
The NAM consists of 120 member states and 21 observer states that consider themselves not aligned to any major power bloc.
North Korea's founding leader Kim Il-sung, grandfather of the North's new leader, attended a NAM summit in Indonesia in 1965, but Kim Yong-nam attended subsequent meetings held every four month.
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