Xinhua has confirmed the somewhat badly kept secret that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was in China last week, if not that his youngest son and presumed heir, Kim Jong Un, was with him, even though seven North Korean officials on the trip were mentioned by name in the report. The visit, the second by the usually stay-at-home Kim senior to China this year, was described as unofficial.
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Kim (left) told President Hu Jintao when they met in Changchun on Friday that he was hoping for an early resumption of the stalled six-nation nuclear talks that Beijing has been trying to get going again. Not much detail on how or when that might happen.
Hu did, however, during an orgy of fraternal remarks on both sides, take the opportunity to stress to Kim on the basis of China’s experience the importance of economic development and that opening up to the world was an inevitable part of that. To what extent that fell on receptive ears, it is impossible to say, though from Kim’s reported remarks during the meeting, his world may extend no further beyond the Hermit Kingdom than Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.