Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie held a meeting with NDC Vice Chair and Minister of the People’s Armed Forces VMAR Kim Yong-chun Tuesday. According to Xinhua, Gen. Liang remarked that “The relationship between the two militaries is a key component part of the bilateral ties. . .China is willing to further maintain close contacts with the DPRK, to intensify mutual exchange and cooperation and to push the in-depth development of the China-DPRK good neighborly and friendly relations.”
Not to be outdone as toastmaster, VMAR Kim remarked that “the DPRK-China friendly and cooperative relationship was jointly established by the leaders of the older generations of the two countries and was consolidated and developed in the new historical period. The DPRK is willing to make concerted efforts with China to ceaselessly elevate the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries and the two militaries to a new height.”
The Chinese and North Korean military heavies may be referring to agreements signed during Wen Jiabao’s visit. A recent story in the ROK press contends that one of these agreements involves Chinese authorities repatriating North Korean migrants, while the North Koreans agreed to stop using China as a transshipment point for narcotics trafficking. It should also be noted that some of the DPRK’s biggest supporters within the Chinese leadership apparatus are in the PLA.
During his Pyongyang stay, Gen. Liang has also attended a concert, made a pilgrimage to Mangyongdae and laid a wreath at the DPRK-Sino Friendship Tower in Pyongyang. One further note about this round of DPRK-PRC engagement. VMAR Kim is shadowed by Gen. Pak Jae-gyong, Vice-Minister of the PAF. Gen. Pak is one of Kim Jong-il’s closest military advisers. Gen. Pak, along with Gens. Hyon Chol-hae and Ri Myong-su, are Kim Jong-il’s three musketeers in the KPA.