Beijing: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday
welcomed North Korean Prime Minister Choe Yong-Rim to Beijing
to start talks following on from a recent visit by leader Kim
Jong-II to China, his fourth in 16 months.
North Korea`s economic dependence on China, its sole
major ally, has grown increasingly important since South Korea
froze most contacts with its neighbour.
In a meeting marked by unusual pomp, Choe, accompanied by
eight high-level North Korean officials, including
vice-premier Ro Tu-Chul, walked the red carpet in the Great
Hall of the People with Wen, reviewing Chinese troops.
After a military brass band played both national anthems,
the leaders and their delegations met to talk, with Wen
opening his remarks by sending "good wishes to General Kim
"Cooperation in several fields at several levels between
our two countries has deepened. This cooperation promotes the
development of our countries and contributes to the peace and
stability of the region," Wen said.
Last week, the lead nuclear envoys of the two Koreas held
a second round of talks designed to pave the way for a
resumption of six-nation negotiations on North Korea`s nuclear
"Now is the best time in our relations," Choe said. "I`m
very glad to bring my delegation to China at this time. Our
general has visited China several times in recent years."
"These visits are historic and have played a very
important part in promoting our relationship. According to the
consensus between our leaders, our relationship is getting
deeper and deeper," he said.
Choe, who formerly headed the Pyongyang branch of the
ruling communist party, took over as premier in June 2010. He
is said to be close to Kim Jong-Un, son and heir apparent of
Choe visited northeast China in November last year and
reportedly toured electronics and pharmaceutical companies.