China on Thursday strongly denied lurid Japanese news reports involving North Korean heir apparent Kim Jong-un.
The Asahi Shimbun on Thursday said on its front page Kim (26) met Chinese President Hu Jintao last Wednesday in Beijing and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's eldest son Jong-nam (38) was also on hand. The daily first reported the story of Jong-un's China trip on Tuesday, including a detailed map of Kim junior's itinerary.
Then, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, "We have no knowledge of such a visit." On Thursday, Qin went further, "The situation reported by the relevant media does not exist at all... I note that recent reports by the relevant media read like a 007 novel."
Meanwhile, the Tokyo Shimbun daily on Thursday said North Korea on May 28 sent a telegraphic message to its embassy in Beijing that Jong-un had been named as Kim senior's successor.
The message was delivered to embassy staff by North Korean ambassador to Beijing Choe Jin-su. It did not make the point explicit but implied the matter in terms that were clear to anyone in the know, the paper added.