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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Chinese leader invites N.Korean counterpart to visit Beijing

RIA Novosti

17:45 11/10/2010

BEIJING, October 11 (RIA Novosti) - Chinese President Hu Jintao has invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and the country's new ruling line-up to visit China, Chinese media said.

The invitation was made during a meeting between Zhou Yongkang, the ruling Communist Party's ninth-ranking leader, and Kim Jong Il on Monday in Pyongyang.

Kim was invited along with "the new DPRK [the Democratic People's Republic of Korea] leadership to visit China at a convenient time."

Kim's youngest son and heir apparent, Kim Jong Un, was invited to China as a part of the North Korean leadership. Little is known of him except that he is apparently 27 years old.

In August, the senior Kim paid a visit to China. Neither Beijing, nor Pyongyang confirmed media reports that Kim indeed visited China. The two states have traditionally been reticent about such information, apparently for security reasons.

The visit came amid Beijing and Pyongyang's efforts to resume the long-stalled six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear program. It also coincides with mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula caused by the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship in March, which Seoul blamed on the North.

Chinese authorities previously declined to comment on media reports that Kim visited China in early May, just over a month after South Korea's Cheonan warship sunk under unexplained circumstances near the disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea, causing the loss of 46 lives.

Kim visited China in 2000, 2004 and 2006. Chinese and North Korean authorities traditionally inform the public of such visits only after they have been carried out.

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