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Powerful N. Korean Official Meets Chinese Leaders

  • VOA News

China's President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with Jang Song Thaek, Chief of the Central Administrative Department of the Workers' Party of Korea, in Beijing, August 17, 2012.
The powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao after Beijing pledged earlier in the week to help Pyongyang develop two economic zones in North Korea.

The talks Friday morning were the highest diplomatic exchanges between the two Communist countries since Kim Jong Un assumed power after the sudden death last December of his father, Kim Jong Il.

The official China Radio International said the meetings came near the end of Jang Song Thaek's six-day visit to China to discuss joint economic projects in Rason on North Korea's east coast and a second economic zone, Gwanggumphyong, on the border between China and North Korea.

Analysts say the talks are a sign that Pyongyang and Beijing are strengthening ties after the new North Korean leader expressed his intention to improve his country's impoverished economy.