China’s Hu backs new leadership in Pyongyang

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China’s Hu backs new leadership in Pyongyang

Chinese President Hu Jintao promised cooperation with the newly installed leadership of North Korea on Saturday, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

It is the first endorsement by China of the new leaders - who were elected to top posts at the recently completed Workers’ Party congress in Pyongyang - including heir-apparent Kim Jong-un.

Meeting with a North Korean delegation in Beijing, Hu said the Communist Party of China puts high significance on China-North Korea relations and would work with North Korea’s new leadership to actively promote and expand cooperation in regional and international affairs, Xinhua reported.

China has been the closest political and economic ally to its communist neighbor since it fought on North Korea’s side during the Korean War. The war began in 1950 and ended in 1953 with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

“We believe that the Workers’ Party of Korea, the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the people will see new achievements in their national construction under the new WPK leadership,” Hu was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

At North Korea’s major political meeting on Tuesday, the first such event in 44 years, Kim Jong-un, third son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, was appointed vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and a member of the Central Committee. A day earlier, he received a four-star general position.

The rapid emergence of the junior Kim, believed to be in his late 20s, came amid speculation over his father’s health problems, backing the observation that the rare meeting was arranged in an accelerated push for a power shift to Jong-un.

The North Korean delegation, led by Choe Tae-bok, a member of the Politburo and secretariat of the Workers’ Party, visited Hu to brief him about Tuesday’s meeting.

“General Secretary Kim Jong-il decided to send a senior delegation to China just after the conclusion of the conference. It shows the importance the DPRK attaches to the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries,” Choe was quoted as saying by Xinhua.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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