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Reports: North Korea's Kim Meets Chinese President in Beijing


South Korean and Japanese media say North Korean leader Kim Jong Il appears to have met Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing.

The reports quote diplomatic sources as saying a motorcade believed to be carrying Mr. Kim arrived Wednesday evening at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

The sources said the North Korean leader likely met with Chinese President Hu during a welcoming dinner at the parliament building. They also said Mr. Kim is expected to hold more talks with Chinese leaders in Beijing Thursday.

Beijing and Pyongyang have not confirmed that Mr. Kim is making what appears to be his 5th visit to China. His previous visits were announced only after he returned home.

Analysts said they expected Mr. Kim to ask Mr. Hu for more Chinese aid for the ailing North Korean economy. In return, Mr. Hu was expected to try to persuade Mr. Kim to rejoin six-nation talks on dismantling the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

Foreign news agencies say Mr. Kim arrived in the Chinese capital on his armored train earlier Wednesday and was taken by motorcade to Beijing's Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

They say Mr. Kim crossed into China Monday by armored train and stayed overnight at a hotel in the northeastern city of Dalian before touring a port near the city on Tuesday.

Beijing has been pressing Mr. Kim to embrace reforms to turn around North Korea's stagnant economy, which also is under pressure from U.N. sanctions. The U.N. Security Council toughened the sanctions last year in response to Pyongyang carrying out a second nuclear test.

The North Korean leader's trip to China also coincides with growing tensions between North Korea and South Korea. Speculation has grown recently that Pyongyang's military sank a South Korean naval ship, killing 46 sailors in March.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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