North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KJI China Visit: The Canonical Version

Kim Jong Il (2nd L Front), general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), accompanied by Hu Jintao (2nd R Front), general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president, visits Beijing Boao Biotech Co. Ltd in Beijing, capital of China, May 6, 2010. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)

Kim Ji-hyun writes in Korea Herald that Chinese officials have briefed their South Korean counterparts about KJI’s recently completed trip to China:

“The Chinese side explained in sincerity the background of Chairman Kim’s visit, what was mainly discussed, and other details,” said Kim Sung-hwan, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and security.

Yu Woo-ik, Seoul’s ambassador to Beijing, yesterday visited the Chinese foreign ministry to receive the briefing earlier in the day, the secretary said.

“The Chinese government said that it was briefing South Korea out of its high regard for bilateral relations (with Seoul),” Kim said.

He refused, however, to disclose specifics of China’s briefing, citing diplomatic practice.

The announcement from Cheong Wa Dae came amid reports that Seoul was dismayed over China’s decision to accept the North Korean leader when it is aware of an ongoing investigation into the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Seoul has indicated that it believes North Korea to be behind the incident.

Despite such concerns, Kim visited China — his first in over four years — to tour business districts and meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

KCNA (and Xinhua’s English service) have composed and released the official version of events of Kim Jong Il’s trip to China.  Xinhua reports that (as did the NYT/IHT) that Kim Jong Il has committed to returning to the 6 Party Talks.

Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea of the Democratic People’ s Republic of Korea (DPRK), said in Beijing that the DPRK remains unchanged in sticking to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim, also chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission, made the remarks when he held talks with Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president, during his unofficial visit to China that lasted from May 3 to 7.

During their talks, Hu and Kim exchanged views on international situation, situation in Northeast Asia and the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

During his time in Beijing, KJI met with Wu Bangguo which Xinhua reports:

Wu, member of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), spoke highly of Kim’s visit, the fifth in the 21st century.

The 60 years of China-DPRK diplomatic relations has been a period that witnessed major changes in world situation, and the two peoples and the two countries have worked hard with joined hands over the 60 years, Wu said.

He said China-DPRK ties have stood tests and seen constant development in the 60 years.

The meetings of the two countries’ leaders and their discussions of bilateral relations are of vital significance for the development of bilateral ties in the future, he said.

Wu said he believes that with joint efforts, the two countries will surely write a new chapter of bilateral relations in the next 60 years.

Kim agreed with Wu’s remarks on bilateral ties.

KJI also met with Premier Wen Jiabao:

Wen said he received warm welcome from the DPRK party, government and people during his visit to the DPRK last October, and the joint celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-DPRK diplomatic ties left him good impression.

Currently, China and the DPRK are witnessing active exchanges and cooperation in various fields and Kim’ s visit will definitely help further deepen traditional friendship between the two parties, countries and peoples, Wen said.

Wen said China will, as always, support the DPRK for developing economy and improving people’ s livelihood and is willing to introduce to the DPRK the experience of China’ s reform and opening-up and construction.

China and the DPRK enjoy big potential for developing economic and trade cooperation, said Wen, urging the two sides to make joint efforts to advance major cooperative projects, quicken the infrastructure construction in border areas and explore new cooperative fields and methods so as to benefit the two peoples, said Wen.

Recalling Premier Wen’ s successful visit to the DPRK last year, Kim said the DPRK-China cooperation in such areas as trade, agriculture, science and technology is of great significance for promoting bilateral traditional relationship.

Hu Jintao (R), general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president, meets with Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 5, 2010. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

But the main event was KJI’s meeting and activities with President Hu:

Hu said the traditional friendship between China and the DPRK is the common treasures of the two governments, parties and peoples, and it is the historical responsibility of the two sides to push forward their friendship with the progress of the times and from generation to generation.

He said in recent years, Sino-DPRK relations have made continuous achievements, and last year in particular, the two countries celebrated the 60th anniversary of Sino-DPRK diplomatic ties and successfully held the Year of Friendship, and the political contacts and cooperation in all areas have been fruitful.

Strengthening Sino-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations is the consistent policy of the CPC and the Chinese government, he said.

Hu said China always handles, maintains and pushes forward the relations with the DPRK in a strategic and long-term perspective, and will make joint efforts with the DPRK to upgrade the relationship to benefit the two peoples and to contribute to lasting regional peace and common prosperity.

Hu said boosting Sino-DPRK cooperation helps the two countries promote their own socialist construction, and safeguard and develop the common interests as well as regional peace, stability and prosperity.

KCNA wrote up Kim Jong Il’s five-day trip to China into a day-by-day chronicle.

The leader of the DPRK received a sincere and warm welcome from Chinese people wherever he went in China.

Touring northeastern China, he acquainted himself with the thought and sentiments of the diligent and intelligent Chinese people and the economic, cultural and all other sectors there.

The unofficial visit to the PRC paid by him this time for the continued development of the DPRK-China friendship was successfully conducted thanks to the particular care and cordial hospitality shown by Hu Jintao and the Chinese party and government.

Kim Jong Il expressed satisfaction over the result of his visit and extended heartfelt thanks to the leading cadres of the Chinese party and government for their cordial hospitality.

During his visit to China he was accompanied by Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Kim Yong Chun who is also vice-chairman of the NDC of the DPRK, Secretaries of the WPK Central Committee Choe Thae Bok and Kim Ki Nam, First Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Sok Ju, Department Directors Jang Song Thaek, Kim Yong Il and Kim Yang Gon and First Vice Department Director Ju Kyu Chang of the WPK Central Committee, Department Directors of the NDC of the DPRK Hyon Chol Hae and Ri Myong Su, Chief Secretary of the North Phyongan Provincial Committee of the WPK Kim Phyong Hae and Chief Secretary of the South Hamgyong Provincial Committee of the WPK Thae Jong Su.

Yonhap’s Sam Kim has an early summary of KJI’s tour and his public presence:

The man rarely speaks in public, never appears live in North Korean broadcasting and keeps foreign media baffled about his whereabouts even when he travels to probably the safest country he could go on Earth: China.

In his four trips to his country’s top political and economic benefactor until 2006, the stodgy North Korean has befuddled, irked and amazed journalists with the level of secrecy surrounding his entourage.

Many would disagree this year, however, because the 68-year-old has been spotted several times almost every day during his five-day trip that ended Friday.

On the first leg of his journey in the Chinese port city of Dalian on Monday, Kim stayed at a five-star hotel near a public government building and led a motorcade of dozens of vehicles that toured the city at least three times in the afternoon.

“It’s as if he was determined to make his presence felt,” a diplomatic source in Beijing told Yonhap News Agency, noting Kim once strolled back into his hotel through the lobby.

“Kim’s telling the world, ‘I’m back in shape and in control,” said Baek Seung-joo, a North Korea researcher with the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul.

Kim, looking more gaunt than in his previous trip to China four years ago, is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008, disappearing from public events for months.

That raised worries that the impoverished regime built on a massive personality cult may collapse unexpectedly, spark mass defections and even loosen its hidden nuclear weapons.

“Kim’s Chinese trip this week probably dispelled a lot of doubts about his ability to move and rule,” Baek said, adding increased exposure also demonstrates his willingness to open up for trade and dialogue, a gesture China would certainly welcome.

KCNA wraps up its coverage of KJI’s trip to China:

He highly praised the workers of the city for having updated the industrial establishments by introducing cutting-edge technology and steadily boosted the production.

The Liaoning Provincial Committee and the Shenyang City Committee of the CPC gave a grand banquet in honor of Kim Jong Il visiting the city and presented him with gifts carrying the best wishes.

Kim Jong Il expressed profound thanks to the leading officials and all the working people of the province and the city, saying that he felt very grateful to them for having accorded cordial hospitality to him with particularly warm friendship.

He returned home, after passing through Dandong, a border city, warmly seen off by Wang Jiarui and other senior party and government officials of China who conducted him with all sincerity, accompanying him in the whole period of his China visit.

His latest visit to China was successfully conducted thanks to the particular care and cordial hospitality shown by Hu Jintao and the Chinese party and government.

Kim Jong Il expressed satisfaction over the results of his visit and extended heartfelt thanks to the leading cadres of the Chinese party and government for their cordial hospitality.

And Kim Jong Il spared no time writing his thank you note to Hu Jintao:

During our visit we could see for ourselves the world-startling achievements made by the Chinese people after doing away with the centuries-old backwardness through strenuous efforts to put into practice the scientific outlook on development and the spirit of the 17th Congress of the CPC and feel once again the particular and sincere friendship of the Chinese people towards us.

I am satisfied with the fact that in the course of meetings this time I reconfirmed the steadfast resolution and will to further deepen the understanding and trust and develop on a new higher stage the traditional DPRK-China friendship, a precious legacy and common asset handed down to us by the revolutionary forerunners.

It is my belief that the DPRK-China friendship deeply enshrined by the peoples of the two countries would grow stronger and develop generation after generation full of fresh vim and vigor thanks to the joint efforts of the two parties and two peoples.

I hope that the fraternal Chinese people would ensure stable and sustainable development of the country and make greater progress in building a comprehensively well-off and harmonious socialist society under the leadership of the CPC with you as general secretary and, at the same time, sincerely wish you good health.

An affiliate of 38 North