July 03, 2013 14:15
Senior North Korean official Kim Song-nam left Pyongyang to visit China on Tuesday, the official KCNA news agency said. It is the third such visit in a few weeks, and may be aimed at arranging a China visit for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or winning back lost love from the North's sole supporter.
Kim is a deputy director of the Workers' Party's International Affairs Department, in charge of interpreting for high-ranking North Korean officials since Kim Jong-il was in power.
He attended a meeting between North Korean leader Kim junior and senior Chinese apparatchik Wang Jiarui in August last year. He also accompanied senior military figure Choe Ryong-hae when he visited China in late May.
A government official here said, "It's unclear whether Kim Song-nam's visit aims to arrange a visit by Kim Jong-un." He added perhaps North Korea is seeking to improve relations with China prior to resuming six-party talks, because top nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-gwan left for Russia on the same day.
Song Dae-sung of the Sejong Institute, said, "It might be part of Pyongyang's efforts to ease pressure from neighboring countries to denuclearize." Amidst strong pressure from South Korea, China, and the U.S., Pyongyang may be hoping to restore friendly ties with its traditional allies China and Russia.
Others guess that Kim Song-nam's visit has something to do with preparation for the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War on July 27.
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