Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 08:10 UK

North Korea's Kim Jong-il 'meets Chinese president'

A man who appears to be North Korean leader Kim Jong-il gets into a car in Dalian, China, on 3 May 2010
Mr Kim is not thought to have left North Korea since his last visit to China

North Korea's Kim Jong-il is reported by South Korean media to have met China's president ahead of expected talks with China's premier.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Mr Kim met President Hu Jintao before having dinner in the Great Hall of the People on Wednesday night.

Mr Kim was expected to meet Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday, the report said.

Mr Kim's visit, thought to be about economics and security issues, has been shrouded in secrecy.

Neither country has confirmed the visit but Mr Kim has been seen several times since arriving in China by special train.

Whatever the reasons for the trip, the mere fact that it is taking place at all suggests China and North Korea want to strengthen their ties

The Associated Press reported that a fleet of North Korean-flagged limousines escorted by police was seen outside the Great Hall of the People on Wednesday evening.

This is where Korean news agencies said Mr Kim met Mr Hu and would meet Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday.

Another meeting with Mr Hu was possible, the agencies said.

The elderly leader is not believed to have been abroad since a 2006 visit to China.

Reports say he has already visited factories, industrial zones and ports in the northern cities of Dalian and Tianjian before travelling by train to Beijing.

China is North Korea's main trading partner and the country perceived to have the most influence on the state.

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Miami Herald NKorea's Kim seen in China; nukes likely discussed - 1 hr ago
South China Morning Post Kim tells Hu North Korea is ready to rejoin nuclear talks, reports say - 4 hrs ago
Telegraph Traces of explosive found on wreckage of South Korean warship - 4 hrs ago
Jakarta Post Nukes, trade underpin Kim Jong Il's China visit - 8 hrs ago Nukes, trade underpin NKorea leader's China visit - 21 hrs ago

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