China Expresses Confidence In NKorea's Leader Kim
BEIJING — China's top foreign policy official has met a North Korean delegation and expressed confidence in the country's young leader just over a week after Pyongyang conducted a rocket launch that Beijing had discouraged.
The Foreign Ministry said State Councilor Dai Bingguo met late Sunday with a North Korean group led by Kim Yong Il, secretary of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party. Dai said he was confident that under Kim Jong Un, North Korea would continue to move toward building a prosperous country, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
China is the North's biggest ally but had expressed concern about its rocket launch, which the U.S. said was a cover for testing long-range missile technology. The U.S. suspended food aid to North Korea after the failed launch.
North Korea had said the Unha-3 rocket carried an Earth observation satellite and touted it as its most ambitious effort yet to join the exclusive club of space-faring nations. But the rocket broke apart soon after the April 13 launch, apparently during its first stage.
Analysts said the failed mission suggested that North Korea had not learned much from previous Unha rocket shots in 1998, 2006 and 2009, which are all believed to have ended in failure.
Dai's comments were released before the latest threat from North Korea, in which the military said Monday it will launch "special actions" soon meant to wipe out conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's administration.
The army statement carried by state media said the actions would last 3 to 4 minutes and be carried out "by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style." It gave no more details.
North Korea has issued a steady stream of harsh criticism of Lee and his government. Pyongyang says Lee insulted the North's recent celebrations of the birth centennial of national founder Kim Il Sung.