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North Korea threat: China reaches out to agitated Pyongyang

North Korea threat: Washington says it has traced the sale of truck parts North Korea used to transport missiles to a Chinese company. Is Beijing not fully enforcing sanctions on North Korea?

By Staff writer / April 24, 2012

Chinese President Hu Jintao (r.) greets North Korean envoy Kim Yong-il, head of the international department of the Workers' Party of Korea, during their meeting in Beijing Monday, April 23. The meeting was held in a reaffirmation of traditional ties following Chinese pique over Pyongyang's recent attempted rocket launch.

Li Xueren/Xinhua/AP

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China's acquiescence to international condemnation of North Korea for its recent rocket launch has been lauded, but Chinese leadership seemed to make it clear yesterday that North Korea could still count on its closest ally.

At a meeting in Beijing with a top official from North Korea's Workers' Party, Chinese President Hu Jintao reiterated his interest in maintaining close ties between the two countries. "We will carry on this tradition... boost strategic communication and coordination on key international issues and work for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula," state television quoted him as saying, according to the BBC.

The day before, while speaking with Kim Yong-il, the Korean Workers' Party director of international affairs, Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo called the alliance between the two countries a "precious treasure" and said China wanted to take their "friendly cooperation to new heights," according to Reuters. Mr. Dai also said that he expected North Korea under Kim Jong-un to "constantly score new successes in building a strong and prosperous country."

Because of their close ties, China is considered the country with the most sway in North Korea, and it has made concerted calls for calm on the Korean Peninsula, but to little noticeable effect. Yesterday North Korea said it would "soon" take "unprecedented" action against the South Korean government and "reduce its target to ashes." It called for the death of the South Korean president at a rally last week, BBC reports.

But there is also concern in the international community, based on evidence that a Chinese company sold North Korea hardware used to transport missiles, that China is lax in its enforcement of sanctions intended to prevent North Korea from obtaining military and nuclear weapon equipment, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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