Chinese and North Korean state media confirmed on Monday that North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il had visited China, where he told President Hu Jintao he remained committed to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
Kim said that North Korea has not shifted in its support of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and does not want to see tensions on the peninsula, Chinese state television reported on its main evening news.
Kim hopes to maintain close communication and coordination with China to promote an early resumption of the six-party talks and ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, it added, referring to stalled multilateral talks on the North's nuclear programme.
Hu said that maintaining peace and stability in Korea was everyone's aspiration, adding talks on the North's nuclear ambitions should be restarted as quickly as possible.
But the reports made no mention of Kim's youngest son. A source told Reuters at the weekend that Kim had been accompanied by his youngest son -- his presumed heir.
The North's official KCNA news agency quoted Kim telling a banquet in his honour: Steadily developing the friendship through generations is an important issue in defending peace and security in the Northeast Asia and the rest of the world.
State television showed Hu and Kim hugging each other at the start of talks in the north-eastern Chinese city of Changchun.
China and North Korea only publicly confirm Kim's visits after he has returned home.
A Chinese-language newspaper earlier lauded relations between the two countries.
Maintaining and stabilising the current relationship between China and North Korea is of maximum benefit to China, the popular tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial.
China is the only major supporter for North Korea, which is largely isolated from the international community over its nuclear weapons programme and which has come under further condemnation after South Korea accused it of sinking one of its warships earlier this year.
China's official Xinhua news agency also praised ties between the two, especially the bonds forged between their people during the 1950-53 Korean War.
Those who sacrificed their lives for the China-DPRK (North Korea) friendship should be remembered generation after generation, particularly at a time of changing and complicated regional situations, it said in an English-language commentary.
Kim, 68 and who rarely travels abroad, was in China for the second time this year. This time he is thought to have brought along his youngest son Kim Jong-un, widely seen as the next head of the family dynasty that has led North Korea since its founding more than 60 years ago.
Kim may be lining up China behind succession plans involving his son, foreign analysts have said. The Workers' Party (WPK), which rubber-stamps big decisions in the North, is due to hold a rare meeting in September that could set in motion succession steps.
The Chinese newspaper blamed outside forces for pressuring North Korea as a way to create trouble for China, the sole major economic and diplomatic supporter of its much weaker neighbour.
The sinking of the South Korean navy ship, in which 46 sailors died, deepened tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul and strained Chinese ties with South Korea.
(Editing by Alex Richardson)