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China, DPRK premiers call for building up bilateral economic coop

September 27, 2011, 8:59 UTC+3
Against the backdrop of the difficult international situation and the difficult situation in Northeast Asia, Premier Wen Jiabao stated, the ruling parties of both countries
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BEIJING, September 27 (Itar-Tass) — China intends to strengthen its bilateral cooperation with North Korea in the field of trade and investment, infrastructure construction, agriculture and development of mineral deposits, Premier of the Chinese State Council Wen Jiabao said here on Monday at talks with the DPRK Cabinet head Choe Yong-rim who arrived in China with a five-day official visit.

Against the backdrop of the difficult international situation and the difficult situation in Northeast Asia, Premier Wen Jiabao stated, the ruling parties of both countries, their governments and peoples are working together to further promote the Sino-North Korean relations.

Beijing will continue to follow the practice of exchange of visits at the highest levels, to deepen the strategic contacts with Pyongyang, protect common interests for the sake of deepening friendship and cooperation between the two countries, the Chinese Premier continued. We welcome the DPRK’s achievements in the development of the national economy and raising the population’s living standards and are ready also in the future to share our managerial and economic experience with it.

China supports North Korea’s adherence to its own path of development chosen by the country in view of the internal specifics, it will continue to provide it all possible assistance in this sphere, he stressed, calling on the sides to “build cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure construction, agriculture and exploration of mineral deposits.” Wen also expressed hope for deepening the dialogue between the North and South, to improve relations between them, as well as for early resumption of six-party talks on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Strengthening unity and cooperation with China remains one of the invariable aspirations of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and the DPRK government, Choe Yong-rim said in response. “We will welcome Chinese investments, are ready to provide favourable conditions in the DPRK for Chinese companies.”

North Korea remains committed to the ideas of denuclearisation only through dialogue and negotiations, resuming the six-party process without preconditions, the DPRK premier stressed. “We will continue to maintain close ties with Beijing on this issue,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the China Daily newspaper reported that China encouraged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 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 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.

Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Research Institute for International Strategic Studies, which is affiliated to the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, noted that Choe has special responsibility for economic management. The DPRK's economic ties with China have grown increasingly important as statistics from the Republic of Korea's (ROK) Unification Ministry showed that China now accounts for 57 percent of the DPRK's foreign trade. Zhang said economic development is one of the most urgent tasks for the DPRK.

Wang Junsheng, a researcher with the Asia-Pacific studies office at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China is the main provider of DPRK’s energy and food. However, Beijing has long been eager to help its neighbour through cooperation in technology and management rather than direct assistance, Wang said.

Choe is scheduled to visit several companies and factories in the commercial hub of Shanghai and the wealthy eastern province of Jiangsu.

China wants Pyongyang to understand and implement Chinese-style economic reforms, Wang said. The two premiers also touched on efforts to revive the long-stalled Six-Party Talks, aimed at the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

“China hopes that all sides remain in contact and in talks and improve relations so as to resume Six-Party Talks at an early date,” Wen said. Choe reiterated comments made by Pyongyang's top nuclear envoy who said in Beijing last week, during a meeting with Seoul’s nuclear negotiator, that Pyongyang insists on restarting the talks with no preconditions.

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