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DPRK leader Kim hails ties with Beijing

11-02-2011 09:06 BJT

BEIJING - Kim Jong-il, the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), hosted a banquet on Monday for the Chinese ambassador to the DPRK, at which Kim spoke highly of the relationship between Pyongyang and Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

The banquet came on the same day as Kim Kye-gwan, first vice-foreign minister of the DPRK, met top Chinese diplomats in Beijing after meeting Stephen Bosworth, the US special envoy on Korean Peninsula affairs, in Geneva last week.

According to the press release from the Chinese embassy in the DPRK on the Foreign Ministry's website, at the banquet, Kim highly praised China-DPRK relations.

He also mentioned Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the DPRK in late October, saying it "made positive contributions" to bilateral ties.

Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai thanked Pyongyang for its warm reception for Li. He vowed that China would implement the consensus achieved between top leaders of the two countries.

According to the press release, a number of top leaders of the DPRK joined Kim at the dinner, including Kim Jong-un, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), and Ri Yong-ho, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK.

Liu Jiangyong, a specialist on Northeast Asia studies at Tsinghua University, said, based on the guest list, "Kim took almost all the main leaders in the DPRK to the dinner".

"The move reflects the consensus reached in the DPRK leadership on the high importance they attach to China. Also we can see they're quite satisfied with Li's visit and the work of the ambassador," Liu said.

The DPRK thanked China for its positive attitude on continuing and developing bilateral relations, highlighted by Li's visit, Liu said.

Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Research Institute for International Strategic Studies, which is affiliated with the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said Kim has a tradition of showing hospitality to Chinese ambassadors to the DPRK, and even visited the Chinese embassy to celebrate the Lantern Festival.

Zhang noted the event was also possibly linked to Kim Kye-gwan's China tour. The Foreign Ministry said on its website that Kim met Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and China's top envoy for Korean Peninsula affairs Wu Dawei, without providing details.

"It's highly likely that Kim Kye-gwan notified Beijing about his talks with Stephen Bosworth," Zhang said. Kim said after the talks with Bosworth that "big progress" had been made and the two sides had agreed to meet again.

Kim and top Chinese diplomats may also have discussed the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, Zhang said.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: China Daily

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