• Kyodo

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A North Korean official handling ties with South Korea appears to have been removed, mainly due to health problems, a Seoul daily reported Monday.

Kim Yang Gon, director of the United Front Department, has left his job, Chosun Ilbo reported, citing a source who had returned from a trip to Pyongyang.

Another source said the 72-year-old Kim has been investigated by the Ministry of State Security, the North’s primary intelligence unit, for alleged connections with Jang Song Thaek, the executed uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The news came as North Korea on Monday proposed that the two Koreas halt hostile military activities starting later this week — an apparent show of its desire for peace before a visit to Seoul by Chinese President Xi Jinping.