News / Asia

Report: North Korean Official Made Secret Trips to China

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed the familiar Chinese line that human rights issues are China’s internal affairs and other nations should not meddle, Oct. 22, 2013.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed the familiar Chinese line that human rights issues are China’s internal affairs and other nations should not meddle, Oct. 22, 2013.
Shannon Van Sant
South Korean media are reporting a senior North Korean economic official has secretly visited China to attract investment.  Beijing has neither confirmed nor denied the report, but has said maintaining strong ties is important to both nations.

Reports say North Korea has re-instated two officials in charge of trade and economic ties with China, in a sign the regime may try to repair its economic relations with its powerful neighbor. 

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said she had not seen the news reports, but as close neighbors, Beijing believes cooperative relations between China and North Korea are of importance to the whole region as well as to both countries. 

South Korean media also credited diplomatic sources in Beijing with reports that one of the officials paid a secret visit to China last week to attract investment.  Kim Ki-sok, chairman of the State Commission for Economic Development, reportedly visited Shenzhen, Singapore and Malaysia. 

Such a visit, which normally would not be officially publicized, would be the first to China by a high-ranking North Korean official since the execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song-taek. 

Jang Song-taek's legacy

Jang pushed for economic reform in North Korea and spearheaded many Chinese-led investment projects in the country.  After his execution, Wang Dong, a professor at Peking University, says many Chinese businessmen worried about their continued investment in North Korea, but now believe North Korea wants investment projects with China to continue.   

“Most analysts agree that that was a power struggle.  It was not a struggle between different ideologies, pro-reform... anti-reform.  That was not the case.  So the purge of Jang Song-taek does not mean the end of so-called reform policy,” said Wang Dong.
 
Trade between China and North Korea has boomed in recent years, with North Korea shipping resources to China in exchange for food supplies, arms and investment.  In a series of recent case studies by Johns Hopkins University of Chinese firms doing business in North Korea, investors complained of bribes, poor infrastructure and unnecessary security measures. 

Earlier this month U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Beijing and asked for help in pressuring North Korea to give up its nuclear program. 

Investment between the two longtime allies could remain strong though; China is planning a high speed rail line to North Korea to open by 2015.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More