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China confirms Kim Jong Il's visit

  |   Jan. 19, 2006 at 6:09 AM
BEIJING, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- China has published photos of President Hu Jintao and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il meeting in Beijing, officially confirming Kim's secretive China visit.

The official Xinhua news agency published the pictures late Wednesday, along with a report saying the two leaders had met Tuesday during Kim's Jan. 10-18 "unofficial" visit to China, which it said came at Hu's invitation.

Concerning the content of discussions, Xinhua said only that the two had exchanged views on bilateral, international and regional issues and reached "important and wide-ranging consensus."

Xinhua also confirmed that Kim had made stops in the southern cities of Wuhan, Yichang, Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Shenzhen, where he "visited with great interest about a dozen enterprises and institutes in the fields of industry, agriculture, science and technology, and education."

Kim was traveling aboard his special armored train, reportedly accompanied by a huge entourage of associates including female entertainers.

Chinese officials had earlier refused to confirm foreign media reports that Kim was in the country.

North Korea's Central News Agency also confirmed the visit only after Kim returned to Pyongyang on Wednesday.

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