Kim calls for close ties through generations

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), during their talks in Beijing, capital of China, May 25, 2011. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Visiting North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and Chinese President Hu Jintao said that the two east Asian neighboring states shall maintain their friendly relations through the coming generations.

Kim, 69 years old, told his Chinese hosts that he wanted to resume the nuclear disarmament talks that has stalled his country’s ties with the United States, South Korean and Japan.

During his meeting with President Hu, Kim said: “North Korea is now focusing its energies on economic development, and really needs a stable environment around it. ”

“We hope there will be an easing on the Korean Peninsula, and we are adhering to the goal of denuclearization, and advocate restarting the six-party talks. We have always maintained sincerity about improving relations between North and South (Koreas),” he said.

China is pushing for a resumption of the on-again-off-again nuclear negotiations, but South Korea and the United States say the North Korea must first exhibit sincerity toward nuclear disarmament on the Korea Peninsula.

Hu told Kim that all sides should “remain calm and restrained, show flexibility, remove obstacles, improve relations and make positive efforts to ultimately accomplish peace, stability and development on the peninsula.”

Hu said China positively evaluates the active efforts that North Korea had made in easing the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in improving its external environment.

Kim invited Hu to visit North Korea, which Hu accepted.

Premier Wen Jiabao also met with Kim and vowed to improve cooperation with North Korea.

China is ready to make joint efforts with North Korea to give full play to various bilateral working mechanisms, further encourage initiatives by localities and enterprises and enhance planning and coordination in an effort to boost win-win cooperation to a higher level, Wen said.

Kim hailed the achievements of bilateral trade cooperation in recent years, adding that the two sides had taken a significant step forward in building a new cross-border bridge over the Yalu River.

Kim visited Beijing and Heilongjiang, Jilin and Jiangsu provinces during his week-long tour.

He visited projects related to industrial production, agriculture, technological development and trade. Kim also spoke with farmers and their families, and visited China’s Smart Grid Demonstration Center. The North Korean leader was also briefed on China’s research and development in high-tech products.

“North Korea’s internal situation is difficult. Kim hoped to strengthen China and North Korea’s economic cooperation and obtain aid from China,” said Zhang Liangui, a Korea expert based in Beijing.

Hu was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying China was glad that North Korea is giving “top priority to improving people’s lives.”

Hu told Kim the two countries could make “more efforts to share experiences on party building and state governance and promote economic and social development,” according to the Xinhua report.

China’s support has grown even more important to North Korea since South Korea’s conservative government led by President Lee Myung Bak, halted unconditional food and fertilizer shipments in early 2008 and suspended almost all trade with North Korea. Pyongyang is also hobbled by sanctions from the United States and its allies, to punish Pyongyang for developing nuclear weapons.

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