Shanghai: Chinese President Hu Jintao met
with North Korea`s number two leader on Friday in Shanghai amid
hopes that Pyongyang could return soon to six-nation talks on
dismantling its nuclear programmes.
It was not immediately known what Hu and Kim Yong-Nam
discussed during the meeting but rumours have been rife lately
that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il would soon pay a rare
visit to China ahead of a resumption of the nuclear talks.
Hu and Kim Yong-Nam said little beyond basic
pleasantries in a brief appearance in front of assembled
reporters before their talks on the sidelines of the World
Expo which opens tomorrow.
"Please pass on my good wishes to Kim Jong-Il
regarding his health," Hu told his guest.
The North Korean leader, now 67, reportedly suffered a
stroke in 2008, triggering speculation over who might succeed
him as ruler of the impoverished nation that first tested a
nuclear device in 2006.
Kim Yong-Nam extended North Korea`s wishes for a
successful World Expo, which marks the first time the
reclusive state has participated with a national pavilion at
what was formerly known as the World`s Fair.
Kim Jong-Il, who reportedly dislikes flying,
previously travelled by train to China in 2000, 2001, 2004 and
2006. Analysts say a China trip by the reclusive leader would
be aimed at seeking badly needed economic aid from China.
The North in return may feel bound to return to the
long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks hosted by Beijing, they
say. China is North Korea`s major ally and its most important
source of food and energy.