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China pledges stronger military ties with North Korea

China has vowed to strengthen military ties with North Korea following a three-day visit to Pyongyang by senior Chinese military leaders. The news comes amid continuing tensions between North and South Korea, the Associated Press said. China remains Pyongyang's most important ally and a critical source of food aid and fuel.

China north korea military ties 11 18 2011Enlarge
North Korean Prime Minister Choe Yong-Rim reviews a military honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 26, 2011. North Korea's prime minister is visiting just weeks after leader Kim Jong-Il made his latest trip to the North's closest ally. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

China has vowed to strengthen military ties with North Korea following a three-day visit to Pyongyang by senior Chinese military leaders.

The news comes amid continuing tensions between North and South Korea, the Associated Press said. China remains Pyongyang's most important ally and a critical source of food aid and fuel. 

Efforts to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear disarmament remain stalled.

While in North Korea, Li Jinai, director of the political department of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, according to turgid reports in state-run Chinese and North Korean media.

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Li said Friday that China's army wanted to enhance understanding and mutual trust and strengthen practical exchanges with the North Korean military, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

"This would promote the all-around development of China-DPRK relations, which are neighborly and friendly," Xinhua said. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.

Li also "reiterated the Chinese government's principles and stand on issues related to the Korean Peninsula, and expressed China's willingness to make joint efforts with the DPRK to maintain regional peace and stability," Xinhua said.

North Korean propaganda mouthpiece the Korean Central News Agency said that Li "expressed most heartfelt thanks" to Kim Jong Il for receiving the military delegation, "by sparing his precious time though he was very busy leading the building of a thriving nation."

An official dinner "proceeded in an amicable atmosphere overflowing with friendship," the KCNA said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/111118/china-north-korea-strengthen-military-ties-li-jinai-kim-jong-il