BEIJING — The powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with both President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao this morning, after Beijing earlier in the week agreed to help Pyongyang revamp two trade zones near the Chinese border.
The high-level talks are a sign that Beijing and Pyongyang are strengthening ties after Kim took over following his father’s death last year. State media have said the visit by Jang Song Thaek, the chief of the central administrative department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, is a possible prelude to a visit by Kim himself. China remains North Korea’s most important ally.
The Chinese commerce ministry said the two sides signed a number of cooperation agreements to further develop two special economic zones — Rason on the Korean Peninsula’s northern tip, and Hwanggumphyong, an island in the Yalu River that marks their border to the southwest.