June 30, 2009 10:38
Did Kim Jong-un, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's heir apparent, really visit China and meet Chinese government leaders? Despite repeated denials from Beijing, the Financial Times on Monday said Kim junior made a secret visit to China in mid-June.
In a front-page story, the paper said quoting military, diplomatic and intelligence sources in Beijing, Kim Jong-un "joined a delegation of senior military officials for a top-secret week-long visit to China in mid-June." "It is not clear whether Kim Jong-un met Hu Jintao, China's president, but a person involved in aspects of the visit said that Kim did meet Chinese vice-president Xi Jinping, the man expected eventually to succeed Hu, as well as former Chinese president Jiang Zemin." "The visit was intended to shore up support for the inexperienced Kim Jong-un, Kim's 26-year-old son, and reassure North Korea's closest ally that a smooth leadership transition is already under way," the daily speculated.
The dates in the Financial Times is much the same as those given by the Asahi Shimbun on June 16. The Japanese daily at the time said Kim junior visited China around June 10.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry had denied the Asahi report. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang on June 18 said press reports "read like a 007 novel... I wonder what they will be writing in the next sequel." Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei in a meeting with a senior delegation from the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party in Beijing last Thursday said Kim Jong-un "has never visited China."
Agents and journalists from various countries are scrabbling for authentic sources to find out the truth.
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