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Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday discussed ways to “further strengthen strategic and tactical cooperation” at a one-on-one meeting, the DPRK’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday.
Kim and Xi exchanged “prudent opinions on the current situation and urgent international issues” at a one-on-one meeting held at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse yesterday, KCNA reported in a Korean-language report.
“Ways to further strengthen strategic and tactical cooperation between the two leaders and two parties under the new circumstances were discussed,” state media reported.
Kim’s first visit to China in March saw the DPRK leader express his hope to meet Xi and other top Chinese officials “often” to “further deepen friendship and strengthen strategic communication and strategic and tactical cooperation.”
May later saw Kim suggest measures to “more actively and closely boost tactical cooperation” between Beijing and Pyongyang.
Before leaving Beijing, KCNA reported the North Korean leader visited a national agricultural technology innovation park run by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), as well as the Beijing rail traffic control center.
Kim was accompanied on his tour of the two institutes by senior North Korean officials, including member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Choe Ryong Hae and Premier Pak Pong Ju.
KCNA reported Kim had “learned the achievements and experiences of the agricultural science and technology research project with a serious attitude.”
The North Korean leader also said the researchers at the innovation park “have fulfilled excellent achievements in science and technology research… contributing to the agricultural development of the country.”
Kim reportedly wrote in a visitors’ book that he was “deeply impressed by your excellent research performance.”
This is the second time this year a group of WPK officials has toured the facility.
In May, a visiting group from North Korea’s ruling party led by Politburo member Pak Thae Song visited the CAAS and was briefed on its accomplishments in agricultural science and technology.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at the time that the officials would “make some tours to learn about China’s achievements in economic development and reform and opening-up.”
Pak also accompanied the DPRK leader at CAAS and at a visit to a Beijing rail traffic control center on Wednesday.
Wednesday also saw Kim briefed on “the actual situation of subway operations and its development prospects” while touring facilities at the Beijing rail traffic control center.
KCNA said Kim had “marveled at the high-level of automation and well-established integrated control system.”
China’s state-run outlet Xinhua reported that Tuesday’s meeting saw President Xi say Beijing would support the North’s national economic development.
“We are happy to see that the DPRK made a major decision to shift the focus to economic construction, and the development of the DPRK’s socialist cause has entered a new stage in history,” Xi said.
The North Korean leader announced a new strategic line for the country in April at the 3rd Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the WPK.
Kim called on the party to “concentrate all efforts to build up a strong socialist economy and mobilize the human and material resources of the country to dramatically raise people’s living standards.”
During a visit to Singapore last week, the DPRK leader toured the Marina Bay Sands Skypark, a major port, and the Jubilee Bridge, with KCNA reporting Kim had “learned about the social and economic development” of the country.
Kim also said he would “learn a lot from the good knowledge and experience of Singapore in various fields in the future.”
The North Korean leader returned to Pyongyang on Wednesday afternoon.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: KCNA