Tags: Jiang's | Trip | Hailed | Success

Jiang's Trip Hailed as a Success

Thursday, 06 September 2001 12:00 AM

"The grand reception that President Jiang received reflects the profound friendship between the two peoples, and highlights the better future of the development of bilateral relations," said Dai Bingguo, head of the International Department of China's Communist Party Central Committee, according to the official China Daily newspaper. Jiang returned to Beijing on Wednesday.

The newspaper said that Jiang and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il agreed during discussions that "maintaining and promoting peace and stability in the Korean peninsula is a crucial issue" and that both expressed their resolve to see the region prosper.

Analysts said they expected Jiang to push Kim toward the negotiating table with South Korea after Pyongyang announced on its official radio that it intended to open discussions with the south.

Jiang's comment during his visit indicated his agenda was to get North and South talking again and that Pyongyang could improve the regional situation by warming relations with the United States.

Talks between North and South Korea began in June last year but hit stumbling blocks after the Bush administration this year labeled North Korea a "rogue state" replacing the Clinton administration's "engagement" diplomacy.

China is North Korea's closest ally geographically and diplomatically. President Kim has made two low-key trips to China. First in May 2000, a prelude to the North Korean leader's visit to Seoul the following month and then in January of this year where he spent much of his time touring factories.

The Korean peninsula has been divided since 1945 when World War II ended, ostensibly ending Japan's 35 years of colonial rule. From 1950 to 1953 North and South Korea engaged in fierce battles. The border between the two countries, the demilitarized zone or DMZ, is heavily manned and armed on both sides.

China fought alongside Communist North Korea during the 1950's and has been one of its closest allies. Their close relationship fell apart in the early 1990's when Beijing opened relations with Seoul. The friendship between China and North Korea only improved in recent years when Beijing gave badly needed assistance after a famine devastated much of North Korea in 1995 and an estimated two million people died though the government has only admitted to some 220,000.

Pyongyang was also left to fend for itself after the collapse of the Soviet Union. With its main support gone the country's infrastructure crumbled. It was unable to cope when hit with several seasons of bad weather, which destroyed essential crops.

The China Daily said Jiang promised continued aid including grain to see North Korea through its "economic difficulties." The United States is the largest contributor of food aid to North Korea, which since 1995 has annually suffered from a production shortfall of some 3 million tons of grain.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The grand reception that President Jiang received reflects the profound friendship between the two peoples, and highlights the better future of the development of bilateral relations, said Dai Bingguo, head of the International Department of China's Communist Party Central...
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Thursday, 06 September 2001 12:00 AM
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