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China stresses ties with NK while seeking sanctions relief

North Korea and China stressed their friendship and cooperation while Beijing and Moscow have requested from the UN partial sanctions relief for Pyongyang.

According to Yonhap News Agency, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the North Korean Embassy in China held an exhibit at the National Library of China in Beijing on Tuesday in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties. 


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (AP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (AP)

About 100 people, including North Korean ambassador to China Ji Jae-ryong, embassy staff, Chinese Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism Zhang Xu and officials of the International Liaison Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the event.

Zhang stressed that developing friendly relations with North Korea in all areas was the “unwavering position” of the Chinese Communist Party and the government.

Zhang also said that under agreements between the two countries’ leaders, China wishes to intensify cooperation with North Korea in culture and tourism for closer bilateral ties and regional peace.

For years, China has helped North Korea make money in tourism, an area that is excluded from international sanctions.

China has also proposed with Russia this week a draft resolution for the United Nations Security Council to lift some of the UN sanctions on the North.

The draft resolution calls for lifting a ban on North Korea’s exports of seafood and textiles, exempting inter-Korean rail and road cooperation projects from UN sanctions and lifting a ban on overseas North Korean workers.

Zhang’s remarks suggest that even if the UN Security Council does not adopt the resolution, Beijing will continue to expand support of North Korea with more Chinese tourists to the country and cultural exchanges.

North Korean Ambassador to China Ji also said his country will closely cooperate with China.

Tuesday’s exhibit displayed books, photos and stamps with the two countries’ friendship as the theme in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of their cultural exchange agreement as well as the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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