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Wen Jiabao Gets the Red Carpet Treatment From Kim Jong Il

Author: Scott A. Snyder, Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy
October 6, 2009


Days following the conclusion of the PRC's 60th anniversary celebration of its founding, PRC Premier Wen Jiabao brought a high-powered delegation to Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of Sino-DPRK ties and to facilitate a dialogue on North Korea's nuclear issues with Kim Jong Il. This exceptionally large delegation of Chinese senior officials received Pyongyang's version of a first class welcome: hundreds of thousands of citizens lining the streets and a personal airport reception by Kim Jong Il.

Xinhua released an arrival statement in which Wen Jiabao anticipated a "frank and in-depth exchange of views on PRC-DPRK relations and issues of common concern" during the visit. While Wen emphasized the Sino-DPRK traditional friendship, a tradition of mutual assistance and mutually beneficial cooperation in conversations with DPRK counterparts in his arrival statement, he also mentioned the need to "better coordinate with each other to help maintain peace and stability in the region."

During his stay in Pyongyang, Wen was treated to a North Korean production of "Dream of the Red Chamber," traveled to a martyr's cemetery outside Pyongyang containing the remains of Chinese People's Volunteers from the Korean War, met with senior DPRK officials including Premier Kim Yong-il, President Kim Young-Nam, and National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong Il, and signed a series of agreements on including a "protocol on the adjustment of treaties between the governments of the DPRK and China" and agreements on economic and technological cooperation, educational exchange, software industry cooperation, tourism, wildlife protection, and a protocol on inspection of export and import of goods for purposes of assuring quality control. No doubt these agreements included substantial forms of economic assistance that have customarily accompanied such high-level exchanges between China and North Korea.

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