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N. Korea to Make ‘Important Announcement’ at Noon, KCNA Says

North Korea will announce “important news” at 12 p.m. local time today, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a one-line dispatch.

The last time the totalitarian state previewed an announcement was Dec. 19, before reporting the death of dictator Kim Jong Il. South Korean stocks extended losses today, with the Kospi Index losing 0.9 percent at 11:28 a.m. in Seoul. The won fell 0.2 percent.

The report comes a day after Kim Jong Un’s government promoted General Hyon Yong Chol to vice marshal following the firing of the army chief on July 15. Kim, who succeeded his father as leader, has worked to bolster his public image while rebuffing Western appeals to abandon the country’s nuclear weapons development.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak held a 90-minute national security meeting today to discuss developments in North Korea, spokesman Park Jeong Ha said in a statement on the presidential website. Lee ordered officials to “keep close watch on the situation in North Korea and maintain close cooperation with relevant nations,” according to the statement.

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