North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visited China on Thursday (Aug. 26), according to news agencies. The visit is Kim’s second trip to the country in three months. Chinese and North Korean officials traditionally confirm Kim’s travels only after his return to North Korea. News of this trip was first reported by the Seoul-based Yonhap news agency. It quoted an unnamed South Korean official as saying that Kim’s personal train left for China Aug. 25. BBC says there are reports indicating he was traveling with his son, and possible heir, Kim Jong-Un. South Korean media and several regional analysts speculate that Kim may be seeking Chinese humanitarian aid following flooding in North Korea’s northwest regions, The Associated Press reports.
The North Korean news agency covered the trip extensively upon Kim’s return to Pyongyang. In its coverage, the agency fueled speculations that the leader would name his youngest son as his successor, the Guardian says. The coverage quoted repeated references to North Korea’s next generation of leaders, the newspaper explains. Some analysts have noted that the North Korean leader is likely to use an upcoming assembly of his party to announce that he wants his third son to succeed him.