China, DPRK Vow to Develop Economic Ties

As a visit to Beijing by Kim Jong-Un’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, comes to an end, China Daily reports that China and North Korea vow to develop economic ties:
China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said on Friday that they would push forward in developing economic zones.
The message came during a meeting between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and a DPRK delegation headed by Jang Song Thaek, chief of the central administrative department of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Wen said the government would continue to push bilateral ties forward, support DPRK to improve its economy and people’s well-being. He is confident the country will also make progress in national development.
Jang said Kim Jong Un, top leader of DPRK, attached importance to the bilateral relations, believing the friendship will be passed from generation to generation.
Aside from developing joint economic projects, Wen has urged Pyongyang to allow the market to revamp North Korea’s economy. From Reuters:
Premier Wen Jiabao encouraged North Korea to allow “market mechanisms” help revamp its economy, state media said on Saturday, and laid down other pre-conditions as China tries to wean its impoverished ally off its dependence on Chinese aid.
As well as allowing freer rein to market forces, the Chinese premier also recommended Pyongyang encourage economic growth by improving laws and regulations, encouraging business investment and reforming its customs services.
Beijing has had difficulty managing the relationship with North Korea, which it views as a strategically critical buffer between itself and U.S. military forces in South Korea.
But North Korea is often more cantankerous than China would like, in particular towards South Korea, even though the economic relationship between China and South Korea is far more important. Bilateral ties are also not always smooth.
According to the New York Times, Jang’s visit has

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