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N. Korea sends military delegation to China during Obama visit

All Headlines 15:39 November 17, 2009

By Sam Kim

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said it sent a military delegation to China on Tuesday, as U.S. President Barack Obama agreed with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing to step up cooperation in persuading Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

The delegation led by Gen. Kim Jong-gak departed from the North Korean capital for China, the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported in a single-paragraph dispatch, monitored in Seoul.

Kim, 63, is first vice director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army. The trip comes a day ahead of a visit by Obama to South Korea, which put its armed forces on high alert after a naval skirmish last week with North Korea.

Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed Tuesday to ramp up their joint efforts in denuclearizing North Korea through six-nation talks that also include South Korea, Russia and Japan.

North Korea conducted its second nuclear test in May and said last month it had completed reprocessing 8,000 spent fuel rods used to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Slapped with sanctions tougher than those imposed after the first nuclear test in 2006, North Korea has turned to China for support and signaled willingness to return to the nuclear talks.

samkim@yna.co.kr
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