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(2nd LD) N. Korea's Choe Ryong-hae arrives in Beijing for military parade

2015/09/02 18:20

(ATTN: UPDATES with arrival in Beijing)

BEIJING, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- A close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Beijing on Wednesday to attend a military parade marking the end of World War II.

Choe Ryong-hae, a member of the Politburo Presidium and the secretary of the Central Committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, was greeted by the North Korean Ambassador to China, Ji Jae-ryong, at the Beijing airport.

A convoy of North Korean Embassy vehicles left the airport immediately after Choe's arrival.

Choe is expected to attend a dinner reception later in the day, to be hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping a day before the military parade Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Choe made a brief stopover in the northern Chinese city of Shenyang before arriving in Beijing, a diplomatic source said.

It was not immediately known why Choe made the stopover in Shenyang.

The visit by Choe to Beijing comes as political ties between Pyongyang and Beijing remain strained over North Korea's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons and its wayward behavior.

Choe visited China as a special envoy of Kim in 2013 and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye is in Beijing to attend the Thursday military parade.

Leaders of most Western countries have shunned the Sept. 3 event amid concerns over China's growing military assertiveness in Asia. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is also absent from the list of foreign leaders who will attend the Thursday commemorations.

kdh@yna.co.kr

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angloinfo.com