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China encourages N. Korea to choose own path

(China Daily)

08:30, September 27, 2011

DPRK Prime Minister Choe Yong-rim (left) meets officials at a welcoming ceremony in the presence of Premier Wen Jiabao in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. (Photo by Wu Zhiyi/China Daily)

BEIJING - China encouraged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to follow a development path that best suits its situation and vowed to provide whatever help it was capable of, as Premier Wen Jiabao welcomed his Pyongyang counterpart on Monday at the start of a five-day visit.

Beijing hopes that a well-planned development path will help stabilize Pyongyang's economy and encourage peaceful engagement in the region, analysts said.

Wen told Choe Yong-rim, the DPRK prime minister, that Beijing wants to strengthen exchanges with Pyongyang, according to a release issued by the Foreign Ministry after their meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

"China supports the DPRK in exploring development that fits its own situation and will continue providing help within our capability," Wen said.

Choe's visit follows an agreement by the two countries in June to establish development zones along their border.

Wen said economic cooperation should be "government-guided, enterprise-based and market-oriented", adding Beijing also wants to deepen strategic exchanges with Pyongyang and protect joint interests.

Choe thanked China for its long-term support, saying building closer ties with China is a foundation of Pyongyang's policies.

Accompanied by a number of high-ranking business officials, Choe is scheduled to meet President Hu Jintao on Tuesday.

Choe became prime minister in June 2010.

He visited Northeast China in November and toured high-tech and pharmaceutical companies.

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