BEIJING: A top North Korean official met China's President Hu Jintao on Friday, state media said, in high-level talks which are seen as a precursor to a visit by Pyongyang's young leader Kim Jong-Un.
Hu met with Jang Song-Thaek -- Kim's uncle -- following several days of discussions between the two sides aimed at pushing forward the development of economic zones near the Chinese border, China Radio International (CRI) said.
The talks represent the highest diplomatic exchanges between North Korea and China since Kim Jong-Un assumed power after the sudden death last year of his father Kim Jong-Il.
They are also a sign that Pyongyang and Beijing are strengthening ties after the North Korean leader signalled his intention to improve his country's impoverished economy.
Kim Jong-Un told a visiting Chinese Communist party delegation earlier this month that he was seeking economic development, Chinese state media reported at the time.