From Washington Post:
China has appointed an outspoken career diplomat with extensive knowledge of the United States as its new ambassador to North Korea, the official New China News Agency said.
Analysts said the appointment of Liu Xiaoming, 50, suggests officials in Beijing are reassessing their relationship with Pyongyang and trying to find a new way to press discussions among China, North Korea and the United States.
“This comes as China increases the frequency of communication with the U.S. The Diplomatic Affairs Ministry is very cautious in choosing the ambassador, and Liu’s experience will be helpful in enhancing the triangle communications among China, North Korea and the U.S.,” Shi said. [Full Text]
Also see the news of new ambassador in Chinese (with Liu’s resume) and the Australian’s N Korea leader on slow train to China:
FRESH evidence emerged yesterday that reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has boarded his special luxurious train to Beijing in an attempt to smooth troubled relations with his country’s only significant ally – while China is determined to stop him testing a nuclear bomb.
With the Stalinist dictator reportedly crossing into China yesterday, pressure is again building from the other members of the six-party talks – formed to prevent North Korea going nuclear – to push Pyongyang to join talks after a year of refusing to co-operate, and two months after a tough UN resolution criticising North Korea.
US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs Christopher Hill flew to Beijing yesterday from Tokyo, and will go on to Seoul, to throw American weight behind new efforts, led by China, to bring North Korea back to the table.