The reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is visiting China for the second time this year.
He is thought to be there with his son and probable successor Kim Jong-un.
The purpose of the trip is unclear but experts say it may be related to the succession of his son – Kim himself is thought to be in poor health following a suspected stroke in 2008 – trade or North Korea’s nuclear programme.
The reported visit comes a day after former US president Jimmy Carter visited Pyongyang to try to secure the release of an American prisoner.
Aijalon Mahli Gomes has been sentenced to eight years hard labour for illegally entering the country.
The Kim family dynasty has ruled North Korea since its founding after the Second World War.
Kim’s China trip comes ahead of a rare meeting of the ruling party of North Korea in September, that may settle the succession issue.