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N. Korean Leader to Visit China Soon: Source

Posted April. 01, 2010 02:58,   


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (photo) plans to visit China soon, a high-ranking South Korean government official said yesterday.

“An Yong Ki, a North Korean defense official in charge of external affairs, recently arrived in China,” the official said. “It is unclear whether An’s visit is directly related to Kim’s reported plan to go to China. Given other conditions, however, the possibility of Kim visiting China has increased.”

“If the news is true, Kim will visit between Tuesday, when Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping returns home after visiting Europe, and April 9, when the 12th Supreme People`s Assembly of North Korea is slated to open.”

Another Seoul official also said, “Since watching signs that Kim will visit China, we’ve closely watched his moves.”

Kim Eun-hye, spokeswoman of the South Korean presidential office, said, “The government cannot release detailed information or relevant facts, but it has closely watched Kim’s moves.”

Experts predict that if Kim Jong Il goes to China, this will raise the possibility that Pyongyang will return to the six-party nuclear talks. They say this is because Beijing, which wants to resolve North Korea’s nuclear ambition, and Pyongyang, which seeks Chinese support, have a mutual understanding.

Kim Jong Il previously visited China in May 2000, January 2001, April 2004, and January 2006.

kyle@donga.com spear@donga.com