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Beijing briefs Seoul on N.K. leader’s visit

 Beijing officials briefed South Korea on the results of a trip to China by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il this week, the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said yesterday.

“The Chinese side explained in sincerity the background of Chairman Kim’s visit, what was mainly discussed, and other details,” said Kim Sung-hwan, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and security.



China’s President Hu Jintao (center, front) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (second from left, front) visit Beijing Boao Biotech Co. Ltd. in Beijing on Thursday in this picture released by Xinhua News Agency on Friday. (AP-Yonhap News)
China’s President Hu Jintao (center, front) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (second from left, front) visit Beijing Boao Biotech Co. Ltd. in Beijing on Thursday in this picture released by Xinhua News Agency on Friday. (AP-Yonhap News)
Kim was referring to the North Korean leader’s official title as chairman of the National Defense Commission.

Yu Woo-ik, Seoul’s ambassador to Beijing, yesterday visited the Chinese foreign ministry to receive the briefing earlier in the day, the secretary said.

“The Chinese government said that it was briefing South Korea out of its high regard for bilateral relations (with Seoul),” Kim said.

He refused, however, to disclose specifics of China’s briefing, citing diplomatic practice.

The announcement from Cheong Wa Dae came amid reports that Seoul was dismayed over China’s decision to accept the North Korean leader when it is aware of an ongoing investigation into the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Seoul has indicated that it believes North Korea to be behind the incident.

Despite such concerns, Kim visited China -- his first in over four years -- to tour business districts and meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The two leaders reaffirmed North Korea’s willingness for denuclearization, but they failed to produce any agreements on when Pyongyang would return to the stalled six-way talks aimed at ending the North’s nuclear ambitions.

The North has been boycotting the talks since April last year after a United Nations denouncement of its rocket launch.

The North Korean leader returned to Pyongyang yesterday to wrap up a five-day trip. Pyongyang’s official media has confirmed the trip and his meeting with Hu.

 By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)

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