North Korea officials in China get schooled on economic growth

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  May 15, 2018 at 10:54 AM
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May 15 (UPI) -- Top officials of North Korea's Workers' Party are in China to get a better understanding of economic reform, according to Beijing's foreign ministry.

The two-day visit from a delegation that includes Pak Thae Song, vice chairman of the central committee of the party, began Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang confirmed to Yonhap.

"The visit to China began May 14 upon China's invitation to North Korea's Workers' Party goodwill visitors group," Lu said. "The visit is a concrete measure to implement the joint understanding between Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un."

Lu also said that the Chinese Communist Party and the Workers' Party are conducting an exchange so North Koreans may see directly the "achievements" of Chinese economic building and reform.

According to Yonhap, on Monday Pak toured the Zhongguanchun Science Park, where Kim paid a visit during his first summit with Xi in March.

Pak was accompanied by a delegation that includes Kim Su Gil, head of the Pyongyang's city committee of the Workers' Party, Kim Nung O of North Pyongan Province and Ryu Myong Son, international affairs director at the party's central committee, according to South Korean newspaper Korea Herald.

The group stayed at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

South Korean news service SP News reported the North Koreans could have toured facilities showcasing China's agricultural technology -- a sign Pyongyang could be serious about resolving food shortage issues.

KCNA reported Tuesday the group was in China but did not state reasons for the trip.

In April, Kim Jong Un called for the party to contribute to "socialist economic construction."

Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, made visits to Chinese centers of industry during his period of rule, but eventually returned to economic isolation after refusing to give up his nuclear weapons.

The elder Kim died in 2011.

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