DATE=6/1/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CHINA-NORTH KOREA (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-263051 BYLINE=ROGER WILKISON DATELINE=BEIJING CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: China has acknowledged that reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited Beijing earlier this week on his first known foreign trip in 17 years. V- O-A correspondent Roger Wilkison reports an official account of the visit by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the state-owned Xinhua news agency was long on rhetoric and short on detail. TEXT: Kim Jong-il came to Beijing just days before he is to meet with South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in an unprecedented summit. China is describing his visit as unofficial, but says he was invited by President Jiang Zemin. The Chinese account says Kim Jong-il hailed Beijing's market-oriented economic reforms that have raised Chinese living standards over the past 20 years. China has been pressing North Korea to open up its own economy, which has been marked by severe food and energy shortages in recent years. But Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue hinted Thursday through an interpreter that Mr. Kim indicated he will continue to go his own way. /// INTERPRETER ACT /// General Secretary Mr. Kim Jong-il expressed and told the Chinese side that the (North Korean) side is building (North Korean) style socialism according to its own situation and the Chinese side is building its socialism with Chinese characteristics. /// END ACT /// China says it will grant a package of aid, consisting of food and what Ms. Zhang called material supplies to North Korea as the isolated state struggles to rebound from several years of natural disasters compounded by mismanagement of its collective farm system. But the spokeswoman says she had no further details. She says Mr. Kim held talks with President Jiang and other Chinese leaders on bilateral relations and regional affairs, but refused to be more explicit. Reports on Mr. Kim's surprise visit had him arriving in Beijing and departing the Chinese capital by special train, but that was not mentioned in the official Chinese account. Ms. Zhang would only say that the North Korean leader was the guest of honor at a banquet hosted by Mr. Jiang and that he visited China's top computer firm. Reporters wanted to know what kind of clothes Mr. Kim wore during his visit, whether he ordered any special meals and whether he still sports a pompadour haircut. Ms. Zhang refused to answer such questions. /// INTERPRETER ACT /// I don't think it is polite to comment on a state leader in such an open occasion. But I do want to say that he looks quite healthy. /// END ACT /// Diplomats in Beijing say Mr. Kim's visit marks a warming of ties between the two communist allies. Relations have been relatively cool over the past eight years, following China's establishment of diplomatic links with South Korea. (signed) NEB/RW/JP 01-Jun-2000 09:40 AM EDT (01-Jun-2000 1340 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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