North Korean leader Kim Jong Il could delay an expected trip to China until later this month after Chinese President Hu Jintao has attended a nuclear security summit in Washington, a news report said Tuesday.
Kim's potential visit is a focus of intense attention because it could mean North Korea's return to dormant China-hosted international disarmament talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program.
South Korea's presidential office announced last week there was a high possibility a visit was in the works. A presidential spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.
Kim could delay the trip until after April 18, when President Hu wraps up a visit to South America following his attendance at a nuclear security summit in Washington on April 12-13, South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an unidentified source in Beijing.
Tuesday was seen as the last possible date for Kim to visit China, considering the trip schedules of Chinese leaders and Friday's session of North Korea's rubber stamp parliament, the newspaper said.
South Korea's cable news channel YTN carried a similar report, saying that the possibility of a trip in early April has lessened due to diplomatic and legislative calendars in China and North Korea.
Media reports on Kim's possible visit also come amid speculation that the 68-year-old leader is preparing to hand power over to his youngest son, the Swiss-educated Kim Jong Un, believed to be in his mid-20s.
Kim Jong Il _ known for shunning air travel _ last visited China in January 2006.