North Korean eminence grise Jang Song-taek apparently returned empty-handed from a six-day trip to China.
Jang left without receiving any pledges of material support from Beijing, a high-ranking government official here said on Sunday.
Asked about a reported request for US$1 billion in loans from China, the official said, "I have yet to hear of any economic support from China to North Korea, whether it involves $1 billion or $1 dollar. China stressed market principles to Jang."
Jang, who is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle, met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao as well as Commerce Minister Chen Deming and top apparatchik Wang Jiarui.
"Hu and Wen met with Jang out of courtesy and nothing else," a government official here said. "I believe the comments made by Hu during the meeting were merely well-wishing remarks."