Xi talks to delegation from North

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Xi talks to delegation from North

China supports North Korea’s efforts to develop its economy, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a group of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party senior officials in a meeting in Beijing Wednesday, as the two sides emphasized friendly cooperation, enhanced exchanges and “blood ties.”

Pak Thae-song, a member of the Political Bureau and vice chairman of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, led a North Korean delegation that arrived in Beijing on Monday to study China’s development model, a visit following Kim’s second summit with Xi the previous week in Dalian, China’s easternmost port city.

The North Korean delegation, made up of senior provincial and municipal level Workers’ Party officials, met with Xi and Chinese officials including Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.

Xi told the North Korean delegation Wednesday that China backs the improvement of inter-Korean ties, dialogue between North Korea and the United States and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Xi was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as telling Pak that he and Kim had “an in-depth exchange of views on major issues of common concern, charting a clear course for the China-DPRK relations in the new era.” DPRK is the acronym of the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Xi noted that the North Korean leader made a “successful” and “historic” visit to China in late March, and that he and Kim met again in Dalian last week. He added that this “embodies the great importance” that Kim and the North’s Workers’ Party Central Committee has attached to deepening “friendly cooperation” between the two countries. Xi went on to relay that China supports Pyongyang “in developing its economy and improving its people’s livelihood.” It will back North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in leading his party and people “to take a development path suitable to its own national situation.”

Xi also conveyed that China’s socialism has entered a new era, and that likewise North Korea’s socialist development has entered a new historical period. To this end, Xi pledged to strengthen exchanges of experiences in party and state governance between the two countries. Pak in turn extended leader Kim Jong-un’s sincere greetings to Xi, which were returned by the Chinese president.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KNCA) reported Thursday that Xi told the visiting delegation, “China is attaching importance to the work to propel the traditional friendship between the two countries sealed in blood to a higher stage, as required by the new era.”

It further reported that Xi “noted with pleasure” his two meetings with leader Kim and said they “exchanged the comprehensive and detailed views” on issues including the “development of the relations between the two parties and the two countries and the regional and international situation.”

The North Korean officials visited Zhongguancun in Beijing, China’s version of Silicon Valley, which leader Kim also visited in March, and their trip was seen as an opportunity to learn from the Chinese reform experience and bolster cooperation both with central and provincial governments in various sectors such as agriculture, education, science and technology and governance.

They were reported to have earlier met with Song Tao, head of the international liaison department of China’s Central Committee. Their visit is expected to continue until next week as the group tours provinces and other major cities.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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