North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

DPRK Premier Meets with Wen Jiabao, Begins PRC Visit

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L, front) and his counterpart of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Choe Yong Rim inspect the guard of honor during a welcome ceremony in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 26, 2011. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

DPRK Premier Choe Yong Rim arrived in Beijing on Monday (26 September) to begin a five-day “goodwill” visit to China.  During his trip, Choe will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Jiangsu Province.  The visit is Choe’s second trip to China in less than a year, having visited the northeastern part of the country during early November 2010.  The visit occurs one week after a copper mine in the DPRK’s Yanggang Province was reopened as a joint venture between the DPRK and PRC, as well following a visit to Beijing by DPRK Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho during which he spoke at a 6-Party Talks symposium and met with his ROK counterpart.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (3rd L) holds talks with his counterpart of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Choe Yong Rim in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 26, 2011. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

On Monday, Choe met with China’s Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao.  Xinhua reports:

“Under the context of the complicated regional and international situation, the parties, governments and peoples of China and the DPRK…made joint efforts to push forward bilateral ties,” Wen told Choe at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

China will maintain the exchange of high-level visits, deepen strategic contact and safeguard common interests with the DPRK so as to promote friendship and cooperation between the two sides, Wen said after a red-carpet welcoming ceremony for Choe.

Wen hailed the DPRK’s achievements in developing its economy and improving its people’s livelihoods, adding that China will further share its experiences in governance and economic development with the DPRK.

“China supports the DPRK’s exploration of its own way of development in accordance with its domestic situation, and will continue to offer assistance within its capability,” Wen said.

He called on the two sides to speed up mutually beneficial cooperation in fields such as trade, investment, infrastructure, natural resources and agriculture.

On the situation of the Korean Peninsula, Wen said China hopes that all sides can maintain contact and dialogue, improve relations and resume the six-party talks at an early date.

Choe, also member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, said it’s a firm stance of the party and government of the DPRK to consolidate unity and cooperation with China.

The DPRK will deepen cooperation with China in trade and infrastructure, and welcomes Chinese enterprises to invest and operate in the country, he said, pledging to offer convenience for that.

On the six-party talks, Choe said the DPRK insists on the denuclearization of the peninsula via dialogue and consultation, proposing the resumption of talks without preconditions and pledging to maintain contact with China on that issue.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with his counterpart of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Choe Yong Rim during a welcome ceremony in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 26, 2011. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

Among those accompanying Choe on his trip are Vice Premier and Chairman of the State Planning Commission, Ro Tu Chol (Ro Tu-ch’o’l) and Kim Sok Jun (Kim So’k-jun), who was identified as Minister of State Construction Control.  Kim Sok Jun replaced Pae Tal Jun (Pae Tal-jun), an appointment conveyed when DPRK media listed the members of Choe’s travel party.  Pae Tal Jun, a former Vice-Chairman of the Korea Architects Union and former Vice-Chairman of the State Construction Control Committee, had held the minister’s position since his appointment at the 1st session of the 10th Supreme People’s Assembly in September 1998.

In another personnel change, Ri Ki Bom is leaving his position as DPRK Consul General at the country’s Shenyang consulate.  Ri had served in that position since 2006, and he attended Kim Jong Il’s brief visit to northeastern China in August 2011.  Chinese newspapers reported on 20 and 21 September of Ri’s goodbye visits to Chinese party and government officials.

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