Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Tokyo Shimbun reports that Kim Jong-il may head to China after all, citing an ROK government official who said it is, “‘likely that North Korea’s General Secretary Kim Jong Il will visit China sometime in the latter part of February.'” According to TS there are several factors determining the timing of General-Secretary Kim’s trip: celebrating the Lunar New Year, Kim Jong-il’s birthday celebrations (which the guest of honor does not attend) and that “Wang Jiarui, director of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, will be visiting six African countries until 26 January.”
Hovering over a possible trip to China by General-Secretary Kim are questions as to how expeditiously the DPRK will return to the Six Party Talks, and levels of Chinese aid to the North Koreans. Because the DPRK has not conclusively stated it will return to the 6PT or provided a timeline about its return, “the originally scheduled amount of assistance was cut.” Tokyo Shimbun reports:
According to the source, Kim Jong Il expressed dissatisfaction about the amount of the assistance, and this promised aid has still not been provided. The source says that if Kim Jong Il visits China, he will ask for more assistance and the prompt provision of it.
On the other hand, it appears that China, the chair country for the six-party talks, will be attaching great importance to whether Kim Jong Il makes a definite promise to return to the nuclear talks when he visits China.