China Reaffirms ‘Friendship’ With North Korea

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Chinese president Hu Jintao has pledged to bolster ties with North Korea, after a meeting with the hermit state’s top envoy. The reaffirmation of friendship comes amid a huge international outcry over North Korea’s nuclear provocation and recent attempted rocket launch.

Speaking in a meeting with Kim Yong-Il, a top official of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, Hu Jintao called for greater cooperation between the two nations, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Hu was quoted saying:


We will... strengthen strategic links and coordination on major international and regional issues for the purpose of safeguarding lasting peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.

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China, seen as the country with the greatest degree of influence over North Korea, has repeatedly called for peace on the Korean peninsula.

Yet, tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen following the North’s failed rocket launch on 13 April.

Pyongyang said it was putting a satellite into orbit but critics said the launch was a disguised test of missile technology banned under UN resolutions. According to South Korean officials, there are signs that North Korea is planning a third nuclear test.

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Yesterday, Pyongyang accused the South’s government and news media of slandering its leadership and threatened “special actions” of “unprecedented peculiar means” by its military.

According to a statement from North Korea, the operation is planned to begin “soon” and would “reduce its target to ashes”.

China, which has a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, joined other world powers in condemning the North’s rocket launch, but critics say China has been slow to increase pressure and sanctions on the North – a neighbour which it sees as a buffer against US influence.

Instead, Hu praised Kim Jong-un, the young leader of North Korea’s one-party state:


We are confident that under the leadership of Comrade Kim Jong-un, the Korean Workers' Party and government will certainly be able to lead the North Korean people in unified struggle, forging forward to constantly score new successes in building a strong and prosperous socialist country.