Visitors walk across the Yalu River Broken Bridge, right, next to the Friendship Bridge connecting China and North Korea in Dandong, Northeast China's Liaoning Province in September 2017. (Photo: IC)
Chinese analysts on Monday hailed a Chinese delegation headed by the Party chief of Northeast China's Liaoning Province to North Korea as a move that will help revitalize the Chinese region and support the economic growth of North Korea.
During the four-day visit at the invitation of Workers' Party of Korea (WPK)'s North Pyongan provincial committee, Liaoning Party secretary Chen Qiufa met with Ri Su-yong, vice chairman of the WPK central committee, and Kim Yong-jae, North Korean minister of External Economic Relations, Liaoning Daily reported on Sunday.
During his visit, Chen said the two provinces have frequent exchanges and cooperation. This year marks the 70th anniversary of China-North Korea diplomatic ties and Liaoning Province will work with the relevant departments of the North Korean side to implement the important consensus of the top leaders of the two countries and make new contributions to promoting the development of bilateral relations in the new era.
Chen proposed to continue to strengthen people-to-people and trade exchanges, promote agricultural cooperation, improve exchanges in people's livelihood and carry out tourism cooperation.
Kim agreed with Chen and said he hopes the two sides will expand cooperation in agriculture, healthcare and tourism.
The delegation witnessed the signing of an agreement on the prevention and control of infectious diseases between Dandong, Liaoning Province and Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province.
The delegation also visited former North Korea leader Kim Il-sung's former residence, Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies, a cosmetics factory and a kindergarten in Sinuiju.
Top-level exchanges have been frequent in recent years. Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a two-day state visit to North Korea in June. In 2018, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un paid three visits to China in three months.
"In addition to top-level mutual visits, provincial exchanges are a new highlight in China-North Korea relations," Da Zhigang, director and research fellow of Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.
"The visit not only supports North Korea in its economic construction and opening-up but will also help revitalize Northeast China," Da said.
Although the UN has not completely lifted sanctions on North Korea, China and North Korea can cooperate in certain sectors including culture, tourism and other areas that are not included in the sanctions, Da said.
Cooperating with China "can improve North Korea's economic dynamics, give the country real benefits and help promote the overall economic cooperation in Northeast Asia," he said.