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North Korean Leader Returns from Russia, China Trip

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a meeting on a military garrison, outside Ulan-Ude, Russia, August 24, 2011

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il returned to Pyongyang Saturday, after a week-long visit to Russia and China.

Kim said Friday, during a meeting with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, that he is ready to resume six-party nuclear talks without preconditions.

Pyongyang abandoned the six-party negotiations in April of 2009 and conducted its second nuclear test a month later.

On Wednesday, Kim held his first summit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the city of Ulan-Ude in Eastern Siberia. The meeting ended with a Kremlin announcement that Pyongyang is ready to resume dialogue and abandon atomic enrichment and testing once the six-party talks restart.

Russia, China, the U.S., South Korea and Japan are participants in the stalled six-party nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea. There have been some signs in recent weeks that diplomatic efforts to restart the aid-for-disarmament talks may be making some progress.

Kim also visited Russia in 2002 when he met with then president Vladimir Putin in the eastern city of Vladivostok. He has made several visits to China, including one in May of this year.

Some analysts say Kim may also be trying to garner support for a succession plan that would eventually transfer power to his son, Kim Jong Un.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.