Defense chief hails ties with DPRK as 'lasting friendship'

08:58, November 24, 2009      

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Continuing his five-day visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, China's Defense Minister Liang Guanglie pledged to strengthen military ties with the nation.

Liang's visit is the latest by a high-level Chinese official to the DPRK as the two countries and armies mark the 60th anniversary of their relationship.

"No force on Earth can break the unity of the armies and peoples of the two countries, and it will last forever," Liang told a welcoming banquet on Sunday according to the Korean Central News Agency, the nation's state news outlet.

"Fifty years ago, I came to the DPRK as a soldier and I experienced how the friendship between China and the DPRK was built," Liang said. "This friendship is the fortune for both countries."

Liang's visit comes two weeks ahead of United States special envoy Stephen Bosworth's trip to the DPRK on Dec 8 to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear programs.

Bosworth will discuss re-establishing Six-Party Talks, US President Barack Obama said.

Meng Xiangqing, a professor at the Beijing-based National Defense University, told China Daily in an interview that a good relationship between the two armies will help bring "peace and stability" to the Korean Peninsula.

China insists on denuclearizing the peninsula, respecting the DPRK's security and settling the issues through peaceful negotiations, said Wang Yisheng, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Military Science.

Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, urged yesterday for the US to build a "peace mechanism" with Pyongyang to improve their relationship.

The paper's article said the move was aimed at eliminating confrontations and clashes and guaranteeing enduring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Only if the two sides turned their armistice agreement to a peace treaty could a state of peace be achieved, it added.

The Korean War Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953.

However, the article said the establishment of a treaty would mainly depend on Washington's stance and attitude, calling on the US to make a swift decision.

But "the DPRK and the US still differ in their understanding of the situation", said Zhang Liangui, an expert on the DPRK at the Central Party School in Beijing.

"The US' concern is on nuclear proliferation, and the DPRK regards the concern as the key issue for their bilateral relationship," he told China Daily.

In a speech in the Republic of Korea (ROK), Obama said that the US' message is clear. "If the DPRK is prepared to take concrete steps to fulfill its obligations and eliminate its nuclear programs, the US will support economic assistance and help promote its full integration into the community of nations," Obama said in the ROK last week.

The DPRK walked away from the Six-Party Talks in April after the United Nations condemned its rocket launches. The country said last month it was willing to return to the negotiating table.

Xinhua contributed to story

Source:China Daily
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