North Korean leader Kim Jong-il toured the eastern Chinese city of Yangzhou Monday during his third visit to China in a year.
Kim was scheduled to visit Slender West Lake, Yangzhou’s main tourist attraction, Monday morning, and to tour an economic development zone in the city.
A source close to the local government told the Global Times, after Kim left the Yangzhou State Guesthouse Monday morning, that Kim changed his original plan and was to tour two Chinese enterprises based in the local economic development zone.
However, the Global Times reporter saw four boats gliding over the lake with a number of security guards and reporters standing in the bows, and Kim was suspected to be on board.
Monday morning, police closed off Slender West Lake, and streets around the economic development zone were also blocked into the evening.
“Kim paid a visit to two Chinese enterprises located in the city’s economic development zone, including JA Solar Holdings, which is a world-leading manufacturer of high-performance solar power products,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the source confirmed to the Global Times that Kim’s heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, was not among the delegation, despite growing speculation among foreign media.
Apart from studying the dramatic economic development from China, media and experts said Kim’s frequent visits over the border were to ensure China’s support for his power transfer to Kim Jong-un.
Media reports suggested Kim would then head to Nanjing, where he would stay at the Nanjing Dongjiao State Guesthouse before seeing the city’s Confucius Temple.
Rumors swirled as to whether Kim Jong-un would meet with his father in Nanjing.
A reporter at Japan’s Nippon Television Network Corporation in Nanjing told the Global Times Monday that a plane of North Korea’s national airline Air Koryo arrived at Nanjing Lukou International Airport Monday evening. Kim Jong-un was suspected to be on the plane and would meet his father this morning.
Kim reportedly stopped at hotels in the northeastern Chinese cities Mudanjiang and Changchun on Friday and Saturday before his visit to Yangzhou, and paid a visit to the Changchun-based First Automobile Works Group, according to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
Agencies contributed to this story