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Ri stresses N.Korea's policy of pursuing nukes, economy: KCNA

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Ri Su-yong, a top North Korean party official, has stressed his country's goal of simultaneously pursuing nuclear and economic development during his talks with a senior Chinese party official, Pyongyang's state media said Wednesday.

Ri, vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee and the party's chief of international relations, held talks with his counterpart Song Tao, minister of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing on Tuesday.

The former North Korean foreign minister arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a three-day visit in what could be signs of the North's attempt to mend frayed ties with China over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

Ri stressed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un clarified the principle of the ruling party to protect peace and stability in the region "by always adhering to the strategic line of simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear force," the Korean Central News Agency said.

China has joined the U.N. Security Council's move to slap tougher sanctions on North Korea over its fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch the following month.

Ri's visit to China is mainly aimed at briefing CCP officials on the party congress of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in early May.

But a diplomatic source said that he could meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday for possible discussions over Kim's future visit to China.

Since taking office in late 2011, the North's leader has not held a summit with Xi, mainly because China has shunned the meeting in an apparent expression of anger over Pyongyang's nuclear aspirations.

The CCP said in a statement posted on its website that Ri and Song agreed to "strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two parties." (Yonhap)


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