Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and his son and heir-apparent Kim Jong Un pledged to keep ties with China close as they staged a dinner party for a visiting delegation of senior Chinese officials to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a treaty of friendship.
Kim Jong Il told the Chinese delegation, headed by Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang, that close relations will stay "unchanged no matter how much water flows under the bridge and no matter how frequently a generation is replaced by another," according to a statement from the North's official Korean Central News Agency released late Tuesday night after the dinner party.
Zhang was said to have praised Kim's efforts to boost cooperative ties and promised that Beijing will push forward on the wide-ranging agreements reached by the two countries' leaders.
Kim Jong Il made a surprise visit to China in May, and the countries have broken ground on the initial stages of a pair of joint economic development zones.
Earlier footage from Associated Press Television News in North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, showed Zhang greeting Kim Yong Nam, the head of the North's Parliament, and later touring Kim Il Sung University and its computer library.
Zhang arrived in Pyongyang on Sunday and was due to leave on Wednesday.
The countries fought together in the 1950-53 Korean War, and China remains North Korea's most important ally.
First Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 10:12