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|Monday, September 03, 2001, updated at 17:13(GMT+8)|
President Jiang Gets Warm Welcome in DPRK
Jiang arrived in the capital of DPRK accompanied by Vice Premier Qian Qichen, and Zeng Qinghong, the head of the Communist Party's organisation department.
President Jiang was warmly greeted by DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and crowds of workers who lined the route from the airport to the city centre, Korea Central News Agency said.
Jiang's visit to DPRK, the first by a Chinese president since 1992, has been hailed in South Korea as a shot in the arm for the faltering Korean reconciliation process.
Jiang's visit follows two trips to China by Kim since last year. A trip to China in May 2000 paved the way for his historic summit with South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in Pyongyang the next month.
He made his second visit to China in January and toured Shanghai's stock market.
However some analysts said the focus of President Jiang's visit was still likely on bilateral issues including a planned railway link to Russia, and plans to provide aid and electricity to DPRK.
"It clearly is a heavyweight visit," said one Western diplomat.
Relations between the two Koreas thawed last year, raising high hopes for reconciliation after half a century of enmity since the 1950-53 Korean War.
But the process then ground to a standstill by Washington's decision to brand DPRK a "rogue state" and to put US-North Korean ties on hold.
Tokyo-based news agency Radiopress quoted DPRK newspaper Rodong Shinmun as saying Jiang's visit was "important in strengthening and developing ties between the Chinese and the North Korean people and also for establishing a better environment for peace on the Korean peninsula and in Asia."
Jiang was also expected to encourage his hosts to launch economic reforms after Kim witnessed the results of Beijing achievements of reform and opening-up on his trips to China.
Jiang's entourage also included Guo Boxiong, member of the Central Military Commission and deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army General Staff, and Wang Gang, director of the Communist Party's General Office.
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