Kim Jong Il's trip spurs succession speculation

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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il reportedly met top Chinese leaders on Friday in an apparent bid for Beijing's diplomatic and financial support for a succession plan involving his third and youngest son, who is said to be traveling with him.

Many North Korea watchers predict the son -- Kim Jong Un, believed to be in his 20s -- will be appointed to a key party position at a ruling Workers' Party meeting early next month -- the first such gathering in decades.

China, as North Korea's biggest diplomatic ally and a major source of food aid and oil, would expect to be kept in the loop about major political transitions in Pyongyang, but the Beijing leadership is not likely to be enthusiastic about the prospect of another dynastic succession next door, said Zhu Feng, director of Peking University's Center for International and Strategic Studies....

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