Kim Jong-il ‘backs’ nuclear talks

Photo released by Xinhua news agency on 7 May shows Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) with Kim Jong-il at Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 5 May 2010

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is committed to ending the North’s nuclear programme, Chinese state media says.

Mr Kim arrived in China on Monday, in a visit shrouded in secrecy.

State news agency Xinhua said he had told Chinese President Hu Jintao he would work with China "to create favourable conditions" for talks.

Six-party negotiations to dismantle the North’s nuclear capability are hosted by China and involve the two Koreas, the US, Japan and Russia.

North Korea quit the six-party talks in April 2009, after the UN imposed sanctions for a missile test by Pyongyang. The North carried out a second nuclear test a month later.

"The DPRK (North Korea) is willing to work with you to create favourable conditions for a resumption of the six-party talks," China’s state news agency Xinhua quoted Mr Kim as telling Mr Hu.

No timetable was given for a return to talks, and similar statements of intent have been attributed to Mr Kim in the past. Xinhua gave no details of any pledges of economic aid or other agreements reached between the two allies.

"China will, as always, support the DPRK’s economic development and improving people’s livelihood," Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted as telling Mr Kim in a separate meeting.

Mr Wen was quoted as saying that China would assist North Korea with lessons from its own economic reform process.

State TV footage showed Mr Kim, who is 68 years old, looking frail and thin.

The North Korean leader is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008.

Speculation over his health has fuelled uncertainty about who will succeed him and the impact on Pyongyang’s nuclear capability.

"The leader of the DPRK received a sincere and warm welcome from Chinese people wherever he went in China," reported the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

"Kim Jong-il expressed satisfaction over the result of his visit."

This week’s visit was Kim’s fifth to China since succeeding his father as ruler in 1994, with the last in 2006.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *