False news of Kim Jong Un death shakes up South Korea markets

SEOUL, June 17 (UPI) -- A false news story that claimed Kim Jong Un was assassinated caused tremors in South Korea's foreign exchange market on Friday.

The story published on fake news outlet East Asia Tribune alleged the North Korean leader was attacked by a female suicide bomber and killed in an explosion in Pyongyang.

The article also claimed the report was from Pyongyang's state television network KCTV.

While the report was quickly dismissed on social media, on Friday morning in Seoul the story affected movements in the currency market, local news service Financial News reported.

The exchange rate for the South Korean won spiked to 1178 won to the U.S. dollar, before closing at 1172.7 won.

Defense stocks also rose momentarily on Friday but once rumors were dispelled trading resumed normal levels, according to local press.

Seoul's ministry of strategy and finance issued a warning, urging investors to guard against unconfirmed rumors.

A South Korean defense ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the assassination story is "not true," local newspaper Herald Business reported.

"We know [this story] to be not true," the official said, "We know its credibility is not high."

The official also said the ministry surmises Kim is still alive and if he were dead Seoul would have been able to obtain that information.

A Seoul unification ministry official dismissed the report as originated from a "fake" news source.

None of Pyongyang's news services carried the story.

The website that published the story has previously claimed in another article China had established "alternate breathing days" for the population to protect citizens against polluted air.

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