Kim Jong Il Sends His Military Deputy to China

DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) leader Kim Jong Il, who also heads the DPRK Defense Committee, will send his first deputy, i.e. Vice Marshal Cho Myong Rok, who heads the Korean Popular Army's political department, on a visit to Beijing next week. The visit is to take place April 21-23, reports the Pyongyang-based Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The visit's goals are not disclosed. Still Cho Myong Rok will be staying in the Chinese capital on the threshold of trilateral talks involving high-placed North Korean, US and Chinese diplomats (that will also open in Beijing April 23). The concerned parties intend to discuss various options for settling the crisis around Pyongyang's nuclear program by peaceful means.

According to the South Korean press, Cho Myong Rok has already visited China in mid-March, undergoing medical treatment there and meeting Chinese military leaders.

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