North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has arrived in China to drum up economic and diplomatic support from the rogue state’s only major ally and trading partner.
It is the North Korean Leader first visit abroad since a trip to China in 2006, two years before he suffered a reported stroke.
China has long supported North Korea to maintain stability on it border and it is expected Kim will seek incentives from Beijing to cut back his military ambitions.
Professor Yang Moo-Jin, an expert in North Korean affairs said: “In return for China’s support for North Korea, Kim Jong Il could well express his willingness to to denuclearise North Korea and return to the six party talks.”
Meanwhile, tensions between North Korea and its southern neighbours have escalated after an attack on a South Korean war ship in late March.
Seoul accuses Pyongyang of carrying out the strike that killed 46 sailors.
North Korea walked away from nuclear talks in April last year and carried out its second atomic weapons test the following month.
The UN voted to impose sanctions on North Korea, further crippling the country’s already struggling economy.