Sat, Sep 16, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Kim Jong-il paid a visit to mountain border resort: report

AP , SEOUL

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited a mountain resort near the border with South Korea, the country's official media reported yesterday, amid persistent speculation he may visit China soon.

Kim climbed the main peak at the Diamond Mountain resort, about 26km north of the inter-Korean border, the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The reported hike up the mountain comes after a South Korean lawmaker claimed earlier this month that Kim's health has worsened and that he can no longer walk normally.

KCNA didn't say when the visit was made, but it was believed to have happened on Thursday.

The resort is a key symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation. A South Korean company, Hyundai Asan, runs a hotel and other resort facilities there for tourists from the South. About 1,000 people take the tour every day.

But Kim is not believed to have visited where South Koreans are allowed to go, according to an official of the Unification Ministry, which monitors the North.

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