North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who is on a secret trip to China, was believed to have met with President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders over dinner at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Kyodo News reported.

A motorcade believed to be carrying Kim returned to the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse around 8:50 p.m.

Diplomatic sources said Kim was likely to spend Wednesday night there and inspect some companies in the capital on Thursday.

If the meeting took place, North Korea watchers believe Kim and Hu would likely have discussed how to boost economic ties, especially energy and food aid to Pyongyang and development of border areas, and resume the stalled six-party talks on the North's nuclear programmes.