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North Korean Leader Greets Chinese Premier at Airport


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North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has made a rare public appearance, greeting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as the Chinese leader arrived in Pyongyang for talks.

Mr. Kim was at the airport in the North Korean capital Sunday to welcome the visiting Chinese leader. They are expected to hold talks on Monday. China hopes to convince North Korea to return to six-party talks on its nuclear weapons programs.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wen met Sunday with North Korean Prime Minister Kim Yong Il, who is not related to leader Kim Jong Il. The prime minister told Mr. Wen that North Korea is open to the talks on its nuclear programs.

Chinese media quotes Prime Minister Kim as saying North Korea has never abandoned the goal of achieving a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. But Pyongyang has not made a specific commitment to resume six-party nuclear talks that it broke off in April.

Chinese television says Premier Wen told Prime Minister Kim that achieving a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through dialogue is in everyone's best interest.

Mr. Wen arrived in Pyongyang Sunday on a three-day state visit to mark the 60th anniversary of relations between the two neighbors. Mr. Wen is leading a Chinese delegation that includes Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and nuclear negotiator Wu Dawei. The visiting Chinese officials signed a series of economic and other agreements with North Korea Sunday.

The impoverished and reclusive state relies on China as its biggest source of economic and diplomatic support.

North Korea walked away from nuclear talks with five other nations earlier this year to protest international criticism of its rocket launch.

China, Russia, South Korea, Japan and the United States used the talks to try to persuade Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in return for aid and diplomatic incentives.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.