North Korean leader Kim Jong Il reportedly visited China Monday, arriving on his special armored train. South Korea’s news agency reported that the delegation entered China in Dandong City, and continued to the port city of Dalian.
It was reported that a convoy arrived at the hotel in Dalian by a route closely watched by Chinese policemen. Reporters from South Korea and Japan showed keen interest in the visit, stalking the Kim Jong Il convoy throughout their travels. They managed to capture a photo of the leader in his typical khaki jacket and sunglasses.
It’s not clear whether Kim Jong Il will meet with Chinese leaders in Beijing, who are very secretive about the visit so far, but it is likely he will seek financial aid to support his regime.
Kim Jong Il last visited China, North Korea’s biggest trading partner and aid supplier, in 2006. The dictator routinely uses his luxury 17-car train for travel instead of airplanes.
Scott Snyder from the Asia Foundation told the Los Angeles Times that North Korea is also looking for an endorsement to replace Kim Jong Il, who suffers from poor health, with his youngest son Kim Jong Eun.
But according to the expert on North Korea, Chinese communists will probably “wait and see who actually emerges as the successor.”
Kim’s trip is believed to be postponed from early August due to the Cheonan incident, when North Korea was suspecting of sinking the South Korean patrol boat that had 46 sailors on board. The South Korean president met with his Chinese counterpart last week to seek support for stronger U.N. sanctions against the communist regime.