Source AP ©

NKorean leader receives message of friendship from China

North Korean leader has received a massage of friendship from Chinese president during his meeting with a top Chinese Communist Party official.

Liu Yunshan, a Politburo member of China's ruling Communist Party, was warmly greeted by Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, China Central Television said.

The trip comes a week after the party held its most important meeting in five years and reaffirmed a second five-year term for President Hu Jintao as China's party chief.

Footage showed Liu and Kim hugging, posing for photos and talking across a wide table during a meeting. It was a rare glimpse of Kim on Chinese television and a possible sign that China, the North's biggest aid source and trading partner, is using diplomacy to smooth over recent tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear test.

Liu conveyed Hu's verbal message that "the newly elected collective leadership of China attaches great importance and cherishes the tradition of friendship between the two countries," the television report said.

It wasn't immediately clear if the two sides discussed six-nation disarmament talks centered around the North's nuclear programs.

The atomic test a year ago wore on Beijing's patience because it underscored that the six-country talks hosted by China had not dimmed the regime's nuclear ambitions.

Liu, who will also travel to Vietnam and Laos, paid a visit to the mausoleum of Kim's father, Kim Il Sung, and placed a wreath of flowers at the site, the report said.