Leader Kim Jong Il's visit to China comfirmed by North Korea

North Korea announced Wednesday that leader Kim Jong Il visited China, the first confirmation of the trip that had been shrouded in secrecy with China refusing to confirm his presence in spite of numerous media reports. The tour had raised expectations of possibly fostering a resumption of stalled six-nation talks on the North's nuclear programs.

At a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, the countries "agreed to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue by continually pursuing the six-way talks process," according to a Korean-language report from the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

Kim was in China on an "unofficial visit" from Jan. 10 through Wednesday at Hu's invitation, KCNA said.

During his meeting with Hu, Kim also "expressed impressions of his visit to the central and southern parts of China, where the cause of modernization is being successfully carried out," according to KCNA, reports the AP.

D.M.