N. Korea revs up diplomacy to solidify power of young leader: analyst
After an apparent completion of the hurried power transition to young leader Kim Jong-un recently, North Korea is revving up its diplomacy with China and Southeast Asian nations to solidify the standing of the new leader, an analyst said Sunday.
Kim, who is believed to be in his late 20s, took the helm of North Korea about six months ago, following the death of his father and longtime ruler Kim Jong-il. Kim Jong-un was awarded the top posts in the North's military and ruling Workers' Party in April.
Since then, North Korea's senior officials started visiting China, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia, where economic issues topped the agenda, despite tension over the North's failed launch of a long-range rocket on April 13.
"Support from the international community and economic assistance from the outside world are essential for North Korea's new leader to maintain his regime," said Yoo Ho-yeol, a North Korean expert and professor at Korea University in Seoul.
North Korea, which has been under U.N. sanctions over missile and nuclear tests, is believed to be reaching out to the international community to expand its outside reliance beyond China, Yoo said.
In late April, Kim Yong-il, secretary of the Central Committee of the North's Workers' Party, visited Beijing and met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other senior officials, reaffirming efforts to promote bilateral ties.
A North Korean delegation headed by its ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, toured Singapore and Indonesia in May. North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun attended a meeting of non-aligned countries held from May 5-15 in Egypt.
This month, Workers' Party secretary Kim Yong-il is on a three-nation tour of Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar, according to the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
On Thursday, Kim met with Le Hong Anh, a member of the Political Bureau of Vietnam's Communist Party, who said, "We wish the party and people of the DPRK (North Korea) greater successes in the building of a thriving socialist nation under the wise leadership of Kim Jong-un," the KCNA said in an English-language report. (Yonhap)