N.Korean leader on rare visit to China

BEIJING, May 3, 2010 (AFP) - North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il arrived in China on Monday, officials said, at a time of tension over the sinking of a South Korean warship.

Some analysts said the rare trip to North Korea's sole major ally could reinvigorate stalled six-nation talks on dismantling Kim's atomic programme. But mystery over the warship's destruction clouds any hopes for early dialogue.

"Kim arrived at about five this morning," said an official at the Friendship Bridge tourist site, at northeastern China's Dandong border crossing with North Korea.

"We received a notice from the Public Security Bureau and the army that we should shut down tourist operations in the morning," the official told AFP by telephone.

Rail officials in China's Liaoning province also confirmed that a special train from North Korea crossed into the country early on Monday, but the Chinese foreign ministry refused immediate comment.

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