BIOTECH FASCINATION: Chinese President Hu Jintao accompanies North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during a visit to the CapitalBio Corporation, a Beijing-based biotech firm, on May 6 (MA ZHANCHENG)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's recent visit to China gave new impetus to the two countries' bilateral relations, while helping strengthen their consensus on addressing the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through the six-party talks.
Strengthened ties between China and North Korea not only serve their common interests, but also are conducive to peace, stability and prosperity in Northeast Asia, Chinese President Hu Jintao said while meeting Kim on May 6.
Kim paid his fifth China visit since the beginning of the 21st century from May 3 to 7. Apart from meeting with Chinese leaders including President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing, he spent his trip visiting economic development zones, free trade ports and hi-tech companies in several other Chinese cities including Dalian, Tianjin and Shenyang.
Recent years have witnessed continuous progress in Sino-North Korean relations. Last year, while celebrating the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, the two countries staged a series of events during the Year of China-North Korea Friendship, resulting in frequent political contacts and fruitful cooperation in diverse fields.
Bilateral trade volume between the two countries totaled $2.681 billion in 2009, says China's Ministry of Commerce. Of this total, China's exports to North Korea amounted to $1.888 billion, while its imports from North Korea stood at $793 million.
Hu put forward a number of proposals to further advance Sino-North Korean relations such as the leaders of the two countries keeping in close touch by paying visits, dispatching envoys and sending messages.
While noting that China's achievements are a "great encouragement" to the North Korean people, Kim said North Korea welcomes Chinese investors.
The building of a new bridge over the Yalu River, the two countries' border river, as agreed during Wen's visit to North Korea in October last year, would come to symbolize bilateral cooperation, Kim said.
Meeting with Kim in Beijing, Wen said China will continue to support North Korea in developing its economy and improving the North Korean people's living conditions. It is willing to share with North Korea its experience in carrying out reform and opening up.
There is huge potential for China and North Korea to pursue economic and trade cooperation, Wen said. The premier urged the two sides to make joint efforts to advance their cooperative projects, quicken infrastructure construction in border areas and explore new areas of cooperation.
On the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Kim said his nation remains unchanged in its stance of sticking to denuclearization on the peninsula.
The two leaders reaffirmed China and North Korea making joint efforts for denuclearization on the peninsula in accordance with the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the six parties involved in the nuclear talks.
They also called on the parties—North Korea, South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan—to "demonstrate sincerity and make positive efforts" to push forward the talks. North Korea would work with other parties to create favorable conditions for the resumption of the talks, Kim said.
The talks were launched in 2003, but stalemated in April 2009 when Pyongyang withdrew in protest of the UN Security Council's condemnation of its alleged satellite launch.
But six months later Kim told visiting Premier Wen that North Korea was willing to attend multilateral talks, including the six-party talks, depending on the progress in North Korea-U.S. talks.