ANALYSIS: NORTH KOREA'S "FAMILY FIRM" SIDLES UP TO CHINA
Reuters, August 31, 2010
Think of North Korea's Kim Jong-il as the autocratic, ailing boss of a family firm -- sanctioned, cash-strapped, and worried about who will take over -- and his weekend tour to woo main backer China makes sense.
Kim's visit to China was, as usual, cloaked in secrecy until it ended on Monday. But even the opaque official reports made clear enough that the shuffling 68-year-old leader wanted to reassure China, whose economic help and diplomatic muscle he needs as much as ever to support a dynastic succession.
The reclusive leader told President Hu Jintao he was willing to return to nuclear disarmament talks -- which China wants -- and praised China's economic success. In return, Hu welcomed Kim's position on the nuclear talks and nudged him on economic reform.
"Economic development should be self-reliant and also cannot be separated from opening up and cooperation," Hu told Kim, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
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