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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Chairman of North Korean parliament to visit China amid Korean tension

RIA Novosti

10:50 28/11/2010

BEIJING, November 28 (RIA Novosti) - The chairman of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly will visit China from Tuesday until Saturday amid increased tensions between the two Koreas, the Chinese official news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday.

Choe Tae-Bok was invited by China's second most powerful official, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People's Congress of China, the agency said, without providing any further details of the visit.

The visit comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula after North Korea's shelling of a South Korean island last week. Also, a senior Chinese diplomat visited Seoul to discuss the confrontation on the Korean peninsula, the agency said.

China is seen as North Korea's most powerful ally, which has been urged by the West and Seoul to use its influence on the reclusive regime to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea opened artillery fire on the South's Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea Tuesday, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians. Sixteen others were injured, along with three civilians. The South retaliated and warned of further strikes. The North later accused South Korea of attacking first.

Western powers condemned the attack and warned against a further escalation. Russia called on both Koreas to refrain from the use of force.

North and South Korea remain technically at war, since no peace treaty was signed following the Korean War in 1953. The Demilitarized Zone between the countries is the most heavily armed border in the world.

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