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N. Korea highlights founder's friendship, exchanges with Chinese leaders

All Headlines 13:42 April 05, 2018

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- An influential North Korean newspaper on Thursday introduced an anecdotal event involving its state founder Kim Il-sung and former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and their friendship, as the country is highlighting the records of blood ties between the past leaders of the neighboring countries following its leader Kim Jong-un's surprise visit to China last month.

In a commentary, the Rodong Sinmun said, "The revolutionary friendship between Kim Il-sung and Zhou portrayed a chapter of sublime duty performed by friends that is unknown in the history of world politics," referring to Kim's trip to Beijing in April 1975 to express his concern for Zhou, who was seriously ill.

This image taken from the North Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station on April 3, 2018, shows North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung (L) meeting Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in Beijing in April 1975. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Upon seeing a sick Zhou suffering from a long illness, Kim Il-sung was about to shed tears and could hardly speak while embracing Zhou, the report said. "The tearful encounter left people around them overcome with emotion."

The report also referred to a statement by former leader Kim Jong-il that the Pyongyang-Beijing friendship had been developed in the course of frequent visits and contact between the parties and leaders of the two countries, based on relations of the closest comrades and sublime revolutionary duties.

The current leader Kim Jong-un, the grandson of the founder, made a surprise trip to Beijing from March 25-28 and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It marked Kim's first trip to another country since becoming supreme leader after the death of his father Kim Jong-il in 2011 and an opportunity to revive the two countries' "blood-brother" relationship since the 1950-53 Korean War, it said.

Kim's visit to China, known as North Korea's main economic lifeline, was followed by the airing of a documentary by a North Korean state-run broadcaster on Tuesday that depicted Kim Il-sung's exchanges with China's three former leaders -- Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Zhou. It was the first time for the documentary to have been broadcast since 2014.

namsh@yna.co.kr
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