North Korea’s Prime Minister, Kim Yong Il, has set off for Beijing. There, he will, after the opening ceremony of the “Year of Sino-North Korean Friendship,” confer with Hu Jintao on the 19th. This follows on from Kim Jong Il’s meeting with Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, last Friday. Wang, in the role of special emissary, brought with him a letter from Hu . At the meeting, it was reported that Kim Jong Il said he hopes “that Chinese cooperation and harmony endeavors to progress the six-party talks.” The maintenance of harmony exclusively with China remains a worthwhile foreign policy goal for the North Koreans. This flurry of contacts in advance of the April launch will allow them ample opportunity to get their “it’s just peaceful space exploration” defense in first.
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