China sent top-ranking general Guo Boxiong to North Korea to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its entry into the Korean War that he said resulted in “victory” over the “imperialist aggression” led by U.S. troops.
Guo, a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, headed the military delegation to North Korea, attending ceremonies in the Stalinist state yesterday, according to a report on the website of China’s defense ministry. The delegation laid wreaths in the name of Chinese President Hu Jintao and other leaders at a memorial for Chinese soldiers killed in the 1950-1953 conflict.
“Sixty years ago, in order to support the Korean people against imperialist aggression and to defend justice and peace, the Chinese People’s Volunteers crossed the Yalu River and began military operations and close coordination with the Korean people and army, winning a historical great victory,” Guo said at a ceremony in South Pyongan province. The Chinese sacrifices “cemented with blood the unbreakable friendship between China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
Guo’s visit is at least the second by a member of the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo in two weeks, demonstrating close ties between China and North Korea following years of United Nations sanctions for its nuclear program. China has publicly resisted calls to back the findings of an international probe blaming North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel in March.
Later yesterday, Guo joined North Korean Premier Choe Yong Rim and other leaders for a banquet in Pyongyang to mark the anniversary, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.
In late 1950, U.S.-led forces fighting in the Korean War overran North Korea’s military, with advance elements reaching the Chinese border on the Yalu River. On Oct. 25 of that year, Chinese troops entered the conflict, forcing the U.S.-led contingent into a retreat. The front eventually settled near the 38th parallel at the present-day demarcation between the two Koreas.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il depends on China, his nation’s biggest trading partner and closest ally, to bolster his regime amid continued international sanctions. North Korea’s economy is about 3 percent the size of South Korea’s, according to Bank of Korea data released June 25.
Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, China’s top law-enforcement official, stood to the left of Kim on the reviewing stands during an Oct. 10 military parade in Pyongyang. The night before, as many as 50,000 North Korean dancers, acrobats, soldiers and children took part in the annual Arirang festival celebrating ties between the two countries, donning panda costumes and clashing cymbals in Pyongyang’s May Day stadium. Placards proclaimed “North Korea-China friendship” in Chinese characters.
Kim Jong Il has made an unprecedented two trips to China this year, both times meeting with President Hu.
Guo, speaking at the veterans’ memorial, said that both countries must “make new great new contributions to safeguard regional and world peace and stability,” the Defense Ministry report said.
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