North Korean leader meets Chinese delegation

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il met a high-ranking Chinese delegation and received a message from President Hu Jintao, the North's state media reported Sunday.

The delegation led by Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and including Beijing's main nuclear negotiator, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, was expected to discuss issues surrounding Pyongyang's nuclear program. But the subject wasn't mentioned in the report on the visit from the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

Kim received a personal message from Hu and hosted a dinner attended by officials including Pyongyang's main nuclear envoy, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, KCNA reported. Kim asked that his regards be sent to Hu and other senior Chinese officials, according to the report.

The Chinese delegation is to take part in celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the North's ruling Workers' Party, which falls on Monday. The North has been busy gearing up for the celebration, according to reports, which will be highlighted by a mass propaganda show including 100,000 performers that has been staged since August.

China is the North's last major benefactor and has hosted international disarmament talks that last month reached their first-ever agreement where Pyongyang said it would give up all its nuclear programs in exchange for security guarantees and energy assistance.

However, North Korea cast doubt on progress reached after demanding the next day that it be given a nuclear reactor for power before it dismantles its atomic projects, AP reports.

А. А.

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