Kim Jong-il: Friendship with China 'unbreakable'

08:36, November 26, 2009      

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DPRK top leader Kim Jong-il meets Defense Minister Liang Guanglie in Pyongyang on November 25, 2009. (Xinhua Photo)

PYONGYANG: Visiting Defense Minister Liang Guanglie yesterday met Kim Jong-il, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Kim welcomed Liang and spoke highly of the relationship between the DPRK and China. He described the friendship between the countries as a "treasure inherited from the older generations" of leaders and said it had "stood the test of history and was unbreakable".

He also said links between the two nations' armies were an important part of that friendship.

China and the DPRK have described 2009 as Friendship Year.

Kim also asked Liang to convey his greetings and good wishes to President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders.

President Hu recently invited Kim to visit China.

Liang extended his thanks to Kim for the meeting and conveyed regards from Hu and other Chinese leaders.

He said the Chinese government was unshakeable in its commitment to consolidate and develop cooperative relations.

Liang added the relationship will benefit not only the people of the two countries but contribute to peace and development in Northeast Asia and around the world.

Liang arrived in Pyongyang on Sunday for a five-day official visit. On Tuesday, he met his DPRK counterpart, Kim Yong-chun.

"China and the DPRK established relations 60 years ago, and, no matter how stormy the international changes, the traditional friendship between us has always advanced," said Liang.

"Under new conditions, China is willing to have closer military contacts with the DPRK," said Liang.

He "reiterated the Chinese government's principles and positions on issues concerning the Korean Peninsula", a Xinhua report said, without directly mentioning the nuclear issue.

But Yang Xiyu, a senior expert on the DPRK at the China Institute of International Studies, said China will discuss the nuclear issue with the DPRK during meetings.

The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is an issue that will be much more difficult to resolve than the resumption of Six-Party Talks, he added.

Yang said the visit of the defense chief suggests that the Sino-DPRK relationship is heading in a "positive direction".

"China will use all opportunities to dissuade the DPRK from possessing nuclear weapons," he said.

Liu Jiangyong, a senior analyst on Asia Pacific studies at Tsinghua University, said the DPRK needs China's support to avoid being isolated in the international community.

Liang's visit, Liu said, will reassure Pyongyang about the importance of the China-DPRK relationship, which will help advance the nuclear issue.

He noted that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was "relatively stable", paving the way for the reopening of the Six-Party Talks.

Xinhua, China Daily and Reuters

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