Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks with Kim Jong-il in the northeastern city of Changchun on Friday, State media reported after three days of silence over the North Korean leader’s latest secretive visit to China.

While the ailing Mr. Kim, who insists on a high degree of secrecy for his rare trips overseas, was seen in northeastern China on Friday in images broadcast by South Korean media, the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and the official media here, had until Monday, refused to confirm that he was in China.

State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said on Monday that Mr. Kim had met with Mr. Hu on Friday. The two leaders held talks on a range of issues ranging from North Korea’s controversial nuclear programme to the recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula following the sinking of the South Korean warship, the Cheonan, in March, which killed 46 sailors.

Mr. Kim said during the talks that he would support an “early resumption” of the Six Party talks along with South Korea, the United States, Russia and Japan, which have been suspended after the North quit the talks following the conducting of a nuclear test and several missile tests in April 2009. Mr. Hu called on all sides to “continue to place importance and make positive efforts to safeguard peace and stability”, and move towards the denuclearisation of the Korean pensinsula.

State media did not say if Mr. Kim’s son and designated successor, Kim Jong-un, had accompanied him on the trip. South Korean media and analysts had widely speculated that the reason for the trip — Mr. Kim’s second visit in three months to the country that is his only ally — was to secure Chinese support for his succession plans.

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