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NK Leader Greets Chinese Premier in P’yang

Posted October. 05, 2009 08:20,   


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il yesterday personally greeted Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao after Wen arrived in Pyongyang, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said.

Wen began a three-day visit to North Korea yesterday.

North Korea’s state-run media said Wen and his entourage were personally greeted by North Korea’s reclusive leader Kim and other senior officials at Sunan Airport outside Pyongyang.

Kim’s appearance at the airport is unprecedented and speaks volumes of the importance Pyongyang places on ties with Beijing.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said Wen was greeted “passionately” by crowds at the airport and in Pyongyang, suggesting North Korean authorities mobilized a large number of people.

Accompanying Wen was Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, the head of the Chinese Communist Party’s international department Wang Jiarui, and Beijing’s chief negotiator to the six-party nuclear talks Wu Dawei.

In a written statement released after his arrival in Pyongyang, Wen said, “To continuously consolidate and develop the friendly and cooperative relations between China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the steadfast policy of the Chinese party and government.”

He added Beijing will make significant contributions to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Wen said he will exchange in-depth views on “international and regional issues of common interest” with North Korea`s leadership.

Wen is the first Chinese premier to visit Pyongyang in 18 years and the first top-level official from Beijing to go there since President Hu Jintao, who visited Pyongyang in 2005. Wen was scheduled to hold talks with North Korean Premier Kim Yong Il yesterday and Kim Jong Il today.

Officially, Wen is visiting North Korea to attend a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of North Korean-Chinese relations and the closing ceremony for a “friendship year” between both countries. Yet attention is on whether the visit will produce a breakthrough in the stalemated negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program.

At a meeting with Chinese special envoy Dai Bingguo Sept. 18, Kim Jong Il said he wanted to resolve his country’s nuclear issue through bilateral and multilateral talks. Whether he expands on this comment or presents a detailed measure on North Korea’s scrapping of its nuclear program is attracting interest.

bonhong@donga.com spear@donga.com