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Chinese ambassador tells N. Korea to 'respect differences'

Chinese ambassador to North Korea Li Jinjun, has told North Korea that the two allies need to respect each other's differences, in a rare remark that indicates Beijing's desire to develop a normal relationship with Pyongyang.

   Li made the comment on March 31, when he presented his credentials to North Korea's ceremonial leader, Kim Yong-nam, according to the website of the Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang.

   After presenting the credentials, Li said that he hopes North Korea and China will "respect difference while seeking a common ground."

   The comments made by Li have been commonly used by Chinese officials to develop relations with nations that have a different ideology.

   A diplomatic source in Beijing said it appears to be the first time that a Chinese official made such comments to North Korea.

   China fought alongside North Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War, while the United States and 20 other allied countries fought with South Korea under the U.N. flag.

   The alliance between North Korea and China had been often described as being "forged in blood," but their political relations become strained because of the North's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons.

   North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has yet to visit China since taking the helm of the reclusive state in late 2011. Kim is likely to visit Russia in May in what would be his international debut and an apparent message of affront against China. (Yonhap)

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