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Wen Jiabao Attends the Opening Ceremony of "China-North Korea Friendship Year"

On March 18, 2009, the opening ceremony of “China-North Korea Friendship Year” was held in the Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts. Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council and visiting Premier of North Korea Kim Yong-il attended and addressed the ceremony.

Wen said in his speech that China and North Korea are friendly neighbors separated by only a strip of water. North Korea is one of the first countries establishing diplomatic ties with China. The people of the two countries enjoy profound traditional friendship. The bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields have been deepening since the establishment of diplomatic ties 60 years ago, which has significantly promoted the economic and social development of both countries and contributed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

He pointed out that it is of great importance of holding the friendship year on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of China-North Korea diplomatic ties. It reflects the common aspiration of the two peoples of cherishing the traditional friendship and their commitment to promoting the good-neighborly friendship and cooperation. He expressed hope that both sides make careful preparations for the event to inject new dynamism into the bilateral friendly and cooperative relations and indicated belief that with the joint efforts of both sides the “China-North Korea Friendship Year” will reach the scheduled objectives and China-North Korea friendship will make greater achievements.

Kim Yong-il noted that North Korea-China friendship is the treasure of the two peoples. The Party and government of North Korea attach great importance to this friendship and hold the position consistently of pushing forward the development of the traditional friendship. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and the Chinese and North Korean governments set this year as the “North Korea-China Friendship Year”. The Party and government of North Korea will make concerted efforts with the Chinese side to ensure the success and fruitful results of the activities under the friendship year.

Later the two leaders, together with more than 2,000 audiences in Beijing, watched the gala performance Ode to Friendship presented by the Song and Dance Ensemble and Opera Troup of the General Political Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Beijing Dance Academy, the Mansudae Art Troupe, Pibada Opera Troup and the State National Art Troupe of North Korea. The excellent performance of over 200 artists of China and North Korea received warm applauses from the audiences.

The opening ceremony of “China-North Korea Friendship Year” is co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture of China and the Ministry of Culture and Arts of North Korea.

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