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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

North Korean leader holds meeting with Chinese official

RIA Novosti

23/01/2009 14:39 BEIJING, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met with Chinese communist party official Wang Jiarui in the capital Pyongyang, China's Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

No further details of the meeting, which took place on Thursday, have been released by Xinhua.

The meeting may be an indication that the health of the 66-year-old North Korean leader is improving following claims his health had deteriorated.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told Xinhua that the visit was "within the framework of inter-party exchanges which are both traditional and regular."

Kim Jong-il is not known to have appeared in public since he missed a major anniversary parade in August, fueling speculation that he had been incapacitated by a stroke. However, North Korean state media frequently release photos purportedly showing him paying various visits around the country.

South Korea's Yonhap agency recently reported that Kim had tipped his third son, Kim Jong-un, to take over the isolated communist state, the subject of international concern over its nuclear program, following his death. His nomination has been sent to the leadership of the ruling party, Yonhap said.

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