China Hints at Substantial Economic Aid to N.Korea

      September 30, 2009 08:53

      China is apparently poised to give substantial economic aid to North Korea when Premier Wen Jiabao visits the impoverished country on Oct. 4-6.

      Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters Tuesday that several agreements will be signed with North Korea in areas including economy, trade, education and tourism. She made the remarks in reply to a question whether Wen plans to conclude a cooperation agreement on food and energy with North Korea.

      "China has been providing assistance to [North Korea] within our capacity to improve their people's lives and help them develop their economy."

      On Sept. 16, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, an envoy for President Hu Jintao, visited North Korea and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. His delegation included Vice Commerce Minister Fu Ziying, suggesting that economic cooperation was also on the agenda.

      North Korea relies on Chinese aid for a considerable portion of its food and energy needs, receiving more than 90 percent of oil from China for domestic consumption.

      Asked whether Wen will mention North Korea's return to the six-party nuclear talks, Jiang said that China's position is that resolving the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations will "benefit everyone," and that the six-party talks are an effective and realistic way to resolve the nuclear issue.

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