North Korean leader meets Chinese party official

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Seoul, Jan.23 (ANI): North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met a senior Chinese Communist party official in Pyongyang on Friday.

According to the New York Times, it was his first known meeting with a foreign visitor since reports that he suffered a stroke in August

China's state-run Xinhua reported Kim's meeting with Wang Jiarui, chief of the Chinese Communist Party's International Department, but did not describe Kim's health.

Intelligence officials in Seoul have said that Kim, 66, underwent brain surgery following the stroke.

With no clear successor, the news triggered fear of a potential leadership vacuum in the isolated country, which has been the focus of international efforts to halt its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has vehemently denied that Kim was ill. In recent months, its state-run media have run a series of reports describing his visits to military units, factories and farms. They released pictures but no video footage of his activities, fueling doubts about his recovery. (ANI)

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