North Korean leader visits China: Report

August 26th, 2010 - 5:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, Aug 26 (DPA) North Korean leader Kim Jong Il appeared to be travelling to China Thursday, a South Korean news report said.
Kim Jong Il’s train crossed into China late Wednesday, Yonhap news agency said, citing a senior South Korean government official who requested anonymity.

“Chairman Kim’s special train has been confirmed to have left Manpo for China’s Jilin around midnight Wednesday,” the official was quoted as saying, referring to Kim’s official position as chairman of the National Defence Commission.

The official said Seoul was analysing the possible motives for the visit, as it would be the first time Kim has visited China twice in one year.

The trip came among speculation that 68-year-old Kim, who is said to have suffered a stroke in 2008, was preparing to hand power to his third son.

Kim Jong Un, about whom little is known other than he is thought to be in his 20s, might be on the train, South Korean officials were quoted as saying.

Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament was also thought to be on the agenda.

A Chinese envoy visited Pyongyang last week to discuss the possible resumption of the six-party talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear programme, which include the US, Japan, Russia and South Korea.

That meeting “reached a full consensus of views,” the North’s state-run media said.

North Korea, which walked away from the talks in April 2009 over renewed sanctions, has repeatedly said it is willing to return to the table, but has not proposed a concrete date or venue.

Neither Pyongyang nor Beijing have confirmed the trip, but Kim’s trips to China are only announced once they are over, reportedly out of security concerns.

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