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Second North group goes to China

June 01,2018
BEIJING - A delegation of 200 working-level officials from North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party is visiting China to study the country’s development model amid warming bilateral ties, multiple sources here told the JoongAng Ilbo Thursday.

Around 200 Workers’ Party officials from across various fields including the media, diplomacy, engineering and economics took a North Korean train from the Chinese border city of Dandong in Liaoning Province on Wednesday morning and arrived in Beijing that afternoon, said a source in Beijing who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The delegation is said to have split in groups and are visiting institutes involved in their respective fields across China, including Shanghai and Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, two cities that epitomize China’s economic reforms, another source said.

The group’s visit was the second time last month that North Korea dispatched a group of government officials to China to study its economic development.

Pak Thae-song, a vice chairman of the Workers’ Party Central Committee, led a delegation of senior officials from the party to Beijing on May 14 for a 10-day trip.

That group visited Zhongguancun in Beijing, known as China’s Silicon Valley, and Shanghai, among other places.

The previous delegation, made up of senior provincial and municipal level Workers’ Party officials, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top Chinese officials including Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.

At the time, a report by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) indicated Pak told Xi he wished the Chinese “greater development in the building of socialism with the Chinese characteristics in the new era under the leadership of the Communist Party of China with General Secretary Xi Jinping as its core.”

Local pundits said Pyongyang was emphasizing the need to maintain a strong single-party Communist system under leader Kim Jong-un while carrying out economic reforms.

North Korea’s media has made no mention of the second group’s trip yet.

A third source with knowledge of North Korean affairs said 10 people from the delegation in charge of foreign affairs were planning to visit Chongqing, a major manufacturing and transportation hub.

Another source said North Korean media officials working in newspapers and broadcasting were scheduled to visit the state-run China Central Television (CCTV).

BY YEH YOUNG-JUNE, LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]