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Did Kim Meet With President Hu?

Posted January. 16, 2006 03:00,   


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who is touring Guangdongsheng in southern China, reportedly left for North Korea from Shenzhen yesterday afternoon.

There has been speculation that Kim met with President Hu Jintao of China.

Was There a Summit Between North Korea and China?-

A source in Beijing said, “After Kim arrived on the night of January 10 at the outskirts of Beijing, Kim was not spotted out on the next day. It is likely that Kim met President Hu during that time.”

In addition, the Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Kim might have already met President Hu in Beijing, citing that President Hu’s schedule on January 11 was not made public.

But another source noted, “when Kim visited China in January, 2001, he toured Shanghai before having a summit with then-president Jiang Zemin in Beijing on his way home,” and analyzed that Kim might hold a summit meeting on his way back to North Korea. If Kim does so, the source added that Kim could have a summit with President Hu on January 17 or 18.

After the Xinhua News Agency reported that President Hu had a meeting with Taiwanese businessmen in Xiamen, Fujian, one hour’s flight distance from Guangzhou on January 14, there were some speculation that the two leaders may have met in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, or Xiamen, but Chinese sources remarked that considering the previous protocol, the above was unlikely.

Why Kim Visited China’s Special Economic Zone-

Kim reportedly made an intensive inspection of high-tech enterprises and industries in the Nanshan Science and Technology Complex in China’s first-ever special economic zone in Shenzhen on January 14 and 15. The Hong Kong media reported that Kim visited another Chinese special economic zone, Zhuhai, located near Macao, as well.

An expert on North Korea in Beijing said, “Kim’s visit to Shenzhen, a symbol of China’s economic reform, is closely associated with the North’s blueprint for the development of its special economic zones,” and added, “In particular, Kim may have showed his keen interest in introducing external materials that will influence the success or failure of North Korea’s special economic zones.”

Shenzhen and Zhuhai are special economic zones aimed at attracting Chinese capital in Hong Kong and Macao. The expert’s statement can be interpreted as saying that Kim may be planning something similar.

Did Jiang Zemin Accompany Kim?-

Taiwan`s Central News Agency (CNA), quoted the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao yesterday as saying that former president Jiang Zemin accompanied Kim en route to Guangzhou.

Ming Pao said that Kim went to Shanghai directly from Dandong, not Beijing, attended a welcoming reception from Jiang Zemin, and then went to China’s South Gate, Guangzhou, with Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee.

Yoo-Seong Hwang yshwang@donga.com