Top Chinese official‘s visit to N.Korea raises hopes of thaw in bilateral ties

Oct 06, 2015, 08:40 am

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By Hong Soon-do, Beijing correspondent, AsiaToday - Relations between China and North Korea, who once had formed a solid alliance, are worse than ever. We don't even have to mention the fact that China's top official hasn't visited North Korea since 2010. It's clearly seen considering the China-North Korea border, which has become bloody unlike in the past, and the recent rumors spreading in Beijing that North Korea sees China as an enemy.

Liu Yunshan's participation in the ceremony at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing marking the third anniversary of Kim Jong-il's death on December 17. He will be visiting Pyongyang on October 9./ Source from Xinhua News Agency

This is why China's announcement of sending a senior Communist Party leader to Pyongyang this month looks quite surprising and rare. Liu Yunshan, a member of the Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee, will head a delegation going to North Korea to attend events marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party. It's the first time in five years that China is sending a delegation to North Korea for commemoration. However, such decision was already expected according to diplomatic sources in Beijing on Monday. It appears that under-the-table negotiations were conducted when Choi Ryong-hae, a secretary of the Workers' Party of North Korea, attended China's military parade marking the 70th anniversary of its victory over Japan in WWII in Beijing on September 3.

In fact, the two sides have been reportedly reached to some sort of agreement by then. Most of all, China may have promised Liu's visit and increased economic support. In the case of North Korea, it is highly likely that the country has promised to stop its missile test and fourth nuclear test explosion. The two sides may have also discussed about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's China visit. Possible agreements many signal that China-North Korea relations are improving a little.

Of course, there are pessimistic outlooks as well. Some experts say the two countries will find it hard to go back to have a strong relationship just like in the past. "It is very hard to get back the close relationship once the two countries had. At the moment, it is best to avoid the worst situation," said Huang Dahui, dean of the department of diplomacy at Renmin University of China.

Yet, Liu's visit to North Korea means a lot considering the fact that top party leaders of the two sides initiated exchange for the first time in five years. We could say that China made its best decision in the worst situation. Korea should also analyze it carefully and think about what measure needs to be taken.

#China #North Korea #Liu Yunshan 
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