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North Korea, China vow to further military alliance 'sealed in blood'

All Headlines 08:43 November 23, 2009

By Kim Hyun

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- Top military officials of North Korea and China pledged to further strengthen their countries' alliance that was "sealed in blood" during the Korean War, Pyongyang's media said Monday.

China's defense minister, Liang Guanglie, arrived in North Korea on Sunday as the first leg of his three-nation tour that continues in Japan and Thailand until Dec. 5. Liang paid a visit to Kim Yong-chun, minister of the People's Armed Forces and vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, who later hosted a reception for the Chinese delegation Sunday night, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

"The visit to the DPRK (North Korea) by the Chinese defense minister will be of support and encouragement to the Korean army and people, and mark an important occasion in promoting the development of the traditional relations of friendship between the armies of the two countries," Kim was quoted by the KCNA as saying.

China fought on North Korea's side against South Korea and the U.S.-led allied forces during the 1950-53 war.

Liang expressed "deep thanks" for the hospitality, according to KCNA. Also, as a Korean War veteran, he said that he had "witnessed for himself the Sino-DPRK friendly relations sealed in blood while staying in the DPRK as a soldier of the Chinese People's Volunteers more than 50 years ago.

"No force on earth can break the unity of the armies and peoples of the two countries, and it will last forever," Liang said.

The two talked in a "comradely and friendly atmosphere," the report said.

The allies mark 60 years of diplomatic relationship this year. Liang's visit to Pyongyang is the first by a Chinese defense minister since 2006.

North Korea sent a military delegation, led by Kim Jong-gak, first vice-director of the Korean People's Army general political bureau, to China last week.

The exchange of military visits follows U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to Asia last week. Obama said in Seoul that the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, Stephen Bosworth, will visit Pyongyang on Dec. 8 to try to bring the communist country back to multilateral negotiations over its nuclear program.

hkim@yna.co.kr
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