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DPRK premier begins China visit

[ 2009-03-18 13:43]     字号 [] [] []  
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Premier of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Yong-il began his five-day trip to China yesterday by visiting a farm in Shandong province.

After arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday morning, Kim took a chartered plane to Shandong's provincial capital Jinan. In the afternoon, he visited a green pepper farm in the city's suburbs.

Shandong's provincial leaders hosted a banquet for Kim yesterday evening at the hotel where he was received - the same one where late DPRK leader Kim Il-sung stayed in 1992.

Kim, the DPRK's former minister of land and marine transport, was elected premier in 2007.

Today, Kim is scheduled to visit Shandong's Taishan Mountain, one of China's most sacred locations, and the nearby Temple of Confucius. Confucianism has deeply influenced East Asian culture.

Premier Wen Jiabao will meet Kim in Beijing this afternoon, and the two will jointly officiate the opening ceremony of the "Year of Sino-DPRK Friendship", commemorating the 60-year anniversary of the neighbors' diplomatic relations.

The visit has captivated global attention, as tensions have risen sharply in Northeast Asia since Pyongyang said it would launch a satellite between April 4 and 8. Some countries believe the launch is actually a test of a long-range missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

In response, Seoul and Washington on March 9 began a joint military exercise, to which Washington will reportedly dispatch a nuclear-powered carrier. The exercise is scheduled to end on Friday.

Concerned countries have looked to Beijing, which has enjoyed a long-standing friendship with Pyongyang and played a key role in the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization, to ease the situation.

In an interview with Chinese media ahead of his departure for Beijing, Kim said the Year of Friendship will boost Pyongyang's traditionally warm relations with Beijing and contribute to peace on the peninsula.

He said his country was "satisfied" with its dynamic relationship with China in the context of "the complex international situation".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular press conference yesterday that China feels "concerned, as the current situation on the Korean Peninsula is rather complicated, with uncertain factors" emerging.

"We hope relevant parties can work to settle the issues through dialogue ... and maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

China Foreign Affairs University professor Su Hao said: "Beijing should convey to Pyongyang that China is a neighbor who can be trusted".

Su said the DPRK felt the United States had not given up the attempt to change Pyongyang's regime.

Su said Chinese leaders should tell Kim clearly that Beijing is "optimistic that the DPRK can sustain peace, stability and development".

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

DPRK premier begins China visit

About the broadcaster:

DPRK premier begins China visit

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.