Reports: Mao Zedong grandson among North Korea bus crash casualties

May 1 (UPI) — A descendant of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong who served in the military may have been one of the 34 Chinese casualties in a bus accident in North Korea.

New Tang Dynasty Television and Chinese-language Radio France Internationale reported Tuesday the Chinese government publicly identified 26 Chinese nationals who were killed in the crash on April.

But Beijing has not released the names of the other eight Chinese citizens who were traveling in North Korea, according to South Korean news service Newsis.

One of the eight was Mao Xinyu, Mao’s 48-year-old grandson, according to Chinese-language media.

Mao Xinyu was promoted to be China’s youngest general in 2009, Taiwan News reported, but he was mocked on Chinese social media for his appearance, speeches and calligraphy, according to the report.

He was also the only son of Mao Anqing, the last surviving son of Mao Zedong.

Mao Anqing died in 2007.

Most of the identified Chinese travelers on the charter buses were descendants of Chinese veterans of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Mao Xinyu had said he visited North Korea five times and had previously claimed he had met North Korea founder Kim Il Sung twice.

The status of the Chinese visitors may have played a role in Kim Jong Un’s prompt visit to the hospital in North Korea where some of the survivors were taken following the accident.

Kim had expressed “bitter sorrow” at the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang after the accident, according to The Korea Times.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been focused on improving relations with Pyongyang after a surprise summit in March.

The Chinese leader is likely to visit North Korea after a much anticipated summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim, Yonhap reported Tuesday.