N Korea to top agenda at Lee-Hu summit in China

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak`s three-day trip to China, his second in four years, starts on Monday.

Seoul: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will this week ask China`s leaders to use their influence to lean on North Korea to show restraint amid a delicate transition to a new leadership.

Lee will hold a summit with China`s President Hu Jintao in Beijing and will "discuss ways to develop the strategic partnership between the two nations and cooperative measures for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," the South Korean President`s office said in a statement.

Lee`s three-day trip to China, his second in four years, starts on Monday.

The South has said its primary foreign policy goal this year is maintaining stability on the divided peninsula as its unpredictable neighbour embarks on a third generation of dynastic rule following Kim Jong-il`s death last month.

Little is known about Kim`s chosen successor, his son Kim Jong-un, who in his late 20s and who will be relying on a coterie of trusted members of the military and political elite to act as minders while he cements his grip on power.

Both South Korea and the United States have urged China, the North`s main ally and benefactor, to help restrain the new leadership from staging any hostile acts.

Analysts say the young Kim may order a "provocation”, such as a small scale military attack or nuclear or missile test, to burnish a hardline image with the powerful military.

Over the past week, the North, which has twice tested nuclear devices, has stepped up its use of hostile language against the South.

China voiced its support for the North`s new leadership soon after Kim`s death was announced.

South Korea`s Ambassador to China, Lee Kyu-hyung, said last week that the South would continue to raise the issue of China`s unwillingness to condemn North Korea when it provokes the South.

Bureau Report

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