Reports: China knew early of Kim Jong-il's death

By REUTERS
December 21, 2011 04:03

 
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SEOUL - China, North Korea's primary ally, learned on Saturday North Korea's enigmatic leader Kim Jong-il had died that day, two days before Pyongyang's official announcement, a leading South Korean newspaper reported on Wednesday.

JoongAng Ilbo quoted an unidentified source in Beijing as saying the Chinese ambassador to North Korea had obtained intelligence of Kim's death and reported it to the capital on Dec. 17, the day Kim died of an apparent heart attack while on a train.

"North Korean informed China of Kim's death through diplomatic channels on the following day," the source was quoted as saying.

South Korea's foreign ministry told a press briefing on Tuesday that China did not know of the death in advance of North Korea's official announcement.

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