NKorean leader`s trip spurs succession speculation

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il Friday extended his tour of northeastern China.

Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il Friday extended his tour of northeastern China on a trip seeking Beijing`s blessing for a succession of power to his son, media reports said Friday.

The reports came as former US president Jimmy Carter
ended his mission to North Korea and a top Pyongyang official
meeting him expressed willingness to resume six-party talks on
the North`s nuclear disarmament.

Carter, who headed home today, has also secured the
release of a US citizen jailed in the North for entering the
communist state illegally, reports said.

After an overnight stay, Kim left Jilin City today, media
reports said.

On the first day of the secretive trip, he made a
pilgrimage to historic sites in Jilin which bear footmarks of
his late father and founder of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung.
A 30-vehicle convoy believed to be carrying the reclusive
leader was seen leaving a hotel in Jilin and heading to a
railway station where Kim`s personal train was standing by,
Yonhap news agency said.

Police provided an escort for the convoy of limousines
and minibuses. Security around the station was heavy, with
armed policemen blocking ordinary people and vehicles from
accessing the facility.
It was unclear where exactly Kim is headed. But a source
in Beijing said the next destination appears to be the nearby
city of Changchun, about a one-hour drive from Jilin, Yonhap


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