China to build on North Korea relationship
PRESIDENT HU Jintao told Jang Song-thaek, the powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, that China was ready to take the close relationship between the two allies “to a new level”.
Neighbouring China remains North Korea’s most steadfast ally, and food and energy aid from Beijing have done much to help prop up its impoverished economy.
During a visit to Beijing, Mr Jang, the chief of the central administrative department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, met both Mr Hu and premier Wen Jiabao, after Beijing earlier in the week agreed to help the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) revamp two special economic zones near the Chinese border.
“China is ready to work with the DPRK to earnestly implement important consensus reached between the two sides, maintain high-level contact, strengthen exchanges and co-operation and carry out close communication and co-operation on regional and international issues,” Mr Hu said, according to Xinhua news agency.
The high-level talks are a sign that Beijing and Pyongyang are strengthening ties after Mr Kim took over following his father Kim Jong-il’s death last year. There was speculation that Kim Jong-un could visit China soon.
The talks in Beijing were about developing and managing economic zones in Rason and the Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa islands, Xinhua reported.
Mr Wen, who also met Mr Jang, said Beijing “will firmly support North Korea’s economic development and improvement of people’s livelihoods”.