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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


North Korean Premier Visits China

By Alison Klayman
17 March 2009

The North Korean premier arrives in Beijing today to meet with Chinese leaders, as the two sides commemorate 60 years of bilateral relations.

North Korean Premier Kim Yong Il arrived in Beijing for a five-day visit to his country's biggest ally, Tuesday. Premier Kim, who is not related to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, is making his first visit to China since taking office in 2007.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters Tuesday the premier's visit will include talks with China's President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Spokesman Qin says Kim Yong-Il will also join Chinese leaders at activities commemorating the establishment of bilateral relations, 60 years ago. The two countries are celebrating 2009 as their "year of friendship."

This trip comes before Pyongyang plans to launch a communications satellite, between April fourth and eighth. Washington, Tokyo and Seoul already voiced their objections, saying the launch is really a long-range missile test, in violation of a United Nations resolution.

American, Japanese and South Korean officials suspect the satellite launch vehicle might be a Taepodong-2 missile, thought to have a range of about 6,500 kilometers. That could enable North Korea to strike Alaska or Hawaii. A U.N. Security Council resolution bans North Korea from ballistic activity.

So far, China has not spoken out against North Korea's launch. Spokesman Qin says the Chinese government notes the reaction of members of the international community and hopes all parties involved can keep in mind peace and stability on the peninsula.

Spokesman Qin says China hopes relevant parties will promote the resumption of the six-party talks, which aim to dismantle Pyongyang's nuclear programs.

Beijing hosts the six-party talks, which have been stalled because of the issue of disarmament verification.

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