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No Kim Jong Il at Olympics Opening

Posted July. 14, 2008 08:11,   


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il will not show up at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics slated for Aug. 8. Instead, he will send the North’s second in command, Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, according to China`s official Xinhua news agency Friday.

China’s charge d’affaires in Pyongyang Xing Haiming said at a ceremony marking the 47th anniversary of Sino-DPRK bilateral relations on the same day that Kim Yong Nam is slated to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics as guest of honor of the DPRK. DPRK, which stands for the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea, is North Korea`s official name. “China enthusiastically welcomes his visit,” he reportedly added.

Kim Jong Il has made several visits to China, but none of them were official. His absence at the opening ceremony means there will be no encounter of the North Korean leader with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak or U.S. President George W. Bush, a possibility that has drawn global media attention.

Some 80 heads of state worldwide will watch the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics firsthand, the largest number ever. The list includes Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, as well as Lee and Bush.