Back in May 2000, Kim Jong Il made his first trip to China as North Korea's top leader. An informal visit, it was kept under wraps until Kim, the father of North Korea's current leader, returned to Pyongyang. Kim had a big request for Jiang Zemin, then China's president. I am preparing for an inspection of the northeast region [of China]," Kim told Jiang. "Could you make arrangements for it?"