No firm evidence yet of Kim's China trip: South Korea
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon Thursday said Seoul was closely following news reports about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's trip to China but as yet had no convincing evidence it had happened.
"At this stage, we have nothing to say certainly," Ban told a weekly briefing in response to local media reports that Kim's train had crossed the border into China two days ago.
"The government is willing to continue to follow related developments with a keen interest," he said.
Reclusive Kim is known to have visited China four times since 2000. Pyongyang and Beijing acknowledge Kim's trips only after he has returned home.
South Korean officials were sent to Dandong, a town on the Sino-North Korean border, a while ago in a bid to monitor North Korean trains bound for China, according to government sources in Seoul.
A special train Kim uses to visit neighbouring countries was seen crossing the border on Tuesday, the Seoul-based Dong-A daily and YTN television quoted unidentified government officials as saying.
China reportedly had earlier invited Kim to visit "as soon as possible" amid reports that Pyongyang was preparing to test a nuclear bomb.
North Korea said in February 2005 that it had nuclear weapons, but there have never been reports that it has tested a nuclear bomb.
The secretive communist state has been under international pressure since test-firing seven missiles that splashed down in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on July 5.
The United States has stepped up pressure on China to take stronger action following the launches and to urge North Korea to return to six-nation talks on ending its nuclear weapons programme.
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