Mon, Oct 25, 2010 - Page 4 News List

N Korea, PRC confident of deepening ties

AP, SEOUL

North Korean and Chinese military officers meeting in Pyongyang said ties between the neighbors will only grow stronger, state media reported.

A Chinese military delegation — led by General Guo Boxiong (郭伯雄), vice chairman of Beijing’s Central Military Commission — arrived in North Korea on Saturday for a four-day trip.

China, which backed North Korea during the 1950-1953 Korean War, is the country’s main source of economic and diplomatic support. A visit from someone as senior as Guo is deemed crucial as North Korean leader Kim Jong-il moves to transfer power to his son in what would be the country’s second hereditary succession.

Kim, 68, made his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, a four-star general and gave him key political posts late last month. Kim Jong-il took power in 1994 after the death of his father, national founder Kim Il-sung.

Top North Korean military officer Ri Yong-ho, speaking at a banquet on Saturday, said Guo’s visit “greatly encourages” North Koreans and showed that bilateral ties would grow stronger.

Guo agreed that bilateral ties would be strengthened, the North’s Korean Central News Agency reported.

Guo and Ri — who is vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army — earlier reviewed a guard of honor in a welcoming ceremony.

The Chinese delegation also joined Kim Yong-nam, president of Presidium of the North Korean parliament, in watching a performance of the Arirang song-and-dance extravaganza, Associated Press Television News said.

This year’s Arirang featured scenes highlighting North Korea’s friendship with China, including dancing dragons and panda bears.

Guo’s delegation will also attend commemorations of the 60th anniversary of Chinese troops’ entry into the Korean War, Xinhua News Agency said.

The Korean Peninsula technically remains in a state of war because the conflict ended in a truce. The US, which fought alongside South Korea, stations 28,500 troops on the peninsula to deter any North Korean aggression.

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