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Kim Jong Il Could Be Visiting China

Posted August. 31, 2006 06:56,   


Amid speculation that North Korea is preparing nuclear tests as a backfire against the U.S.’ economic sanctions, attention is growing on whether the “dear leader” is in China.

“Not yet, but…”-

“There is no evidence to date that Kim Jong Il is visiting China. If Kim were to go to China by train, North Korean security guards should arrive first in Dandong or Shinuiju (Xinyizhou in Chinese). But no such preparatory measures were detected,” said a high-ranking government official on Wednesday.

“There are some signals that Kim’s special train entered China through the border,” said another government source, signaling that the government is not ruling out the possibility of Kim’s visiting China.

“China is keeping quiet. Even if Kim is there, China will only confirm his visit after he returned to Pyongyang,” he added. The Chinese government did not confirm Kim’s visit in January despite the Korean government’s request to do so and announced his visit after his departure.

Reasons to suspect-

A diplomatic source said, “The possibility of Kim’s visit to China is high,” and pointed out three reasons. The first is the need to recover North Korean and Chinese relations. The second is to earn support from China to stand up against economic sanctions from the U.S. The last reason is to shore up help from China to overcome the North’s economic woes such as decreasing trade between North Korean and China, flooding, and low achievement of its planned economic aims.

For the North, recovering relations between the two countries is particularly urgent.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated when North Korea did not inform the July 5 missile tests in advance to China and when Kim Jong Il refused to meet with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei on July 10 when he visited the North to persuade it to return to the six-party talks.

The relations cooled down so much that China voted for the U.S. and Japan led UN Security Council’s resolution on July 16. There is speculation that the relations are at its worst since China participated in the Korean War. That is why Kim is taking things into his own hands.

“Kim will want to improve relations with the intimacy between the two heads of state. It’s highly likely for Kim to visit China in September because it’s the anniversary of the 9.19 joint statement of the six-party talks and the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean government,” said Korea University’s North Korean Studies professor Nam Sung-wook.

Also, Kim might be urged to take actions because of severe economic problems. According to the Ministry of Unification’s data released on Wednesday, North Korea’s exports to China in the first half amounted to $199 million, a 14.6 percent decrease from the same period last year.