China and North Korea have said they are committed to resuming international negotiations on dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons, but South Korea is unlikely to agree to any such talks while suspecting that the North torpedoed one of its warships.
Both Chinese and North Korean state media on Friday gave accounts of Kim Jong-il’s secretive trip to China earlier this week, Financial Times informs.
What has been confirmed this week -- thanks to the diligence of Japanese and South Korean news media -- is that Kim, 68, has not recovered from a stroke he suffered in 2008. Video clips showed him dragging his left foot as he walked, with his left arm almost motionless. He also appeared to have lost weight and hair, suggesting to some experts the effects of kidney dialysis.
North Korea watchers say they think Kim traveled to China in search of investment and aid, particularly food. North Korea's moribund economy has been squeezed by tighter U.N. sanctions, and a food shortage this spring has reportedly caused starvation in some areas, Washington Post reports.
US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Qadimi signed an agreement on July 26 to formally end the USA's military presence in the country by the end of the year