North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Ri Su Yong Meets Xi Jinping

President Xi Jinping (right) meets with WPK Vice Chairman for International Affairs Ri Su Yong at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 1, 2016 (Photo: Xinhua).

President Xi Jinping (right) meets with WPK Vice Chairman for International Affairs Ri Su Yong at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 1, 2016 (Photo: Xinhua).

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Vice Chairman for International Affairs Ri Su Yong (Ri Su-yo’ng) in “a friendly atmosphere” at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 1 (Wednesday). It was the first public interaction between President Xi and DPRK leadership since February 2014. Attending the meeting between Ri and Xi were deputy directors of the WPK International Affairs Department, DPRK Ambassador to the PRC Ji Jae Ryong, PRC State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Head of the Communist Party of China [CPC] International Liaison Department Song Tao, senior deputy director of the CPC General Office [General Affairs Department] Ding Xuexiang, deputy director of the CPC International Liaison Department and immediate past PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai and PRC Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin.

Ri Su Yong delivered a verbal message to President Xi from Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) in which, according to Xinhua, Jong Un expressed “that the DPRK hopes to work with China to strengthen and develop the bilateral traditional friendship, and maintain peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.” President Xi, according to KCNA, said that “he was very pleased with the comradely and friendly greetings and verbal message sent by Kim Jong Un” and asked Ri Su Yong “to convey his wholehearted best wished to him.”

Ri Su Yong briefed President Xi on the 7th Party Congress, saying that Jong Un was “elected chairman of the WPK…in reflection of the unanimous will and desire of all members of the WPK, service personnel and people of the DPRK,” according to KCNA, and he noted that the 7th Party Congress “declared that Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) is the symbol of the WPK and its eternal leader and the WPK is the great Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist party.” Ri said that the party congress “showed that the general line of socialist construction, the line of independence, the line of the So’ngun (military-first) revolution, the Chuch’e-oriented line of reunification and the new line of simultaneously of developing the two fronts consistently maintained by the WPK remain unchanged. All party members, service personnel and people are all out in the drive to implement the decision of the party congress.”

According to KCNA, Ri Su Yong said that the “DPRK will invariably develop and boost the DPRK-China friendship, treasure common to the peoples of the two countries, while protecting the regional peace and security with a strategic vision” and expressed “hope that the CPC with Xi Jinping as its General Secretary would make greater success in leading the Chinese people to realize the ‘dream of China.'”

Xi Jinping, according to Xinhua, “welcomed the delegation, saying the visit was evidence of the tradition of strategic communication between the two parties on major issues” and the “visit also demonstrated that Chairman Kim and the WPK Central Committee attach importance to relations between the two parties and two countries.” President Xi “wished the people of the DPRK greater success in endeavors related to the economy, standard of living and socialism.” He stressed that China “highly values the friendly cooperative relations with the DPRK” and said that the PRC is “willing to work with the DPRK to properly maintain, consolidate and develop bilateral ties. China’s stance on the issue of the Korean Peninsula is consistent and clear” and President Xi called on “relevant sides to stay calm, exercise restraint and enhance communication and dialogue to safeguard regional peace and stability.”

According to KCNA, President Xi remarked that the “WPK delegation’s visit to China once again showed the good tradition of sharing the strategic understanding between the two parties of China and the DPRK” and that the CPC and PRC Government “remain unchanged in their policy to protect and develop the Sino-DPRK friendship.” Xi “reiterated the will to join the DPRK in making positive efforts to bring happiness to the peoples of the two countries and protect the regional peace, security and development by developing generation after generation the Sino-DPRK relations of friendship provided and cultivated by the leaders of the elder generation with much effort.” President Xi “sincerely wished the Korean people greater success in their cause of building a socialist power of Korean-style under the guidance of the WPK led by the respected Chairman Kim Jong Un.”

On May 31 (Tuesday) Ri Su Yong met with CPC International Liaison Department head Song Tao. Ri briefed Song on the 7th Party Congress. According to Xinhua, “both sides agreed that they highly value the China-DPRK traditional friendship, and the exchanges and cooperation between the two parties should be strengthened” and “expressed willingness to consolidate and develop China-DPRK relations and support regional peace and stability.” They also “exchanged views on other issues of shared interest.”

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