NKorea official visiting China for economic talks

AP News
Posted: Aug 13, 2012 11:07 PM
NKorea official visiting China for economic talks

BEIJING (AP) — Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle will visit China on Tuesday to discuss economic cooperation with North Korea's most important ally.

North Korean state media said Monday that Jang Song Thaek will meet with senior Chinese officials on joint development of the countries' special economic zones.

Kim, who has led North Korea since his father's death in December, has promoted younger economists to key party positions as part of a stated push to resuscitate his country's economy. North Korea has lagged far behind the rest of Northeast Asia economically, and much of the nation is impoverished outside the capital Pyongyang.

Jang is married to late leader Kim Jong Il's sister, Kim Kyong Hui, and is a vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission. He is seen as a leading economic policy official.

China and North Korea are jointly developing a pair of 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. Rason has recently begun to develop thanks to Chinese infrastructure projects, but Hwanggumphyong has languished since ground was broken last year.