PORTUGAL – The North Korean leader was visiting China on Wednesday for the first time since his trip to the Asian country last month, where he said the country needed to be more open and open minded to the outside world.
“We are very much at the start of a new era in relations with China,” Kim told a gathering of the Chinese Communist Party in the city of Nanjing.
The leader also met senior officials from the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) who were attending the conference.
“I will ask the party congress next year to set up a commission on North Korean cooperation with China so that we can work together more closely,” he said.
During his talks with the party leaders, Kim was asked about the planned reopening of North Korea’s Kaesong Industrial Complex to foreign investment.
He responded that there were many problems with the complex, but that the North Korean government had been working on the issue for the past three years.
He said he was confident that North Korea could overcome these problems.
North Korea, along with China and Russia, have been involved in a long-running dispute over North Korea and the South Korean-controlled South, and China has been tightening its grip on North Korea.
South Korea has said the Kaeso industrial complex has been the scene of a number of missile launches by North Korea, including a ballistic missile in January which failed to reach the East China Sea.
Kim has also been accused of trying to push through a deal with China that would allow him to consolidate his grip on power and prevent the reopening to foreign capital.
The North Korean economy is worth about $1.6 trillion, but the North has long resisted efforts to liberalise it.
But after a decade of relative calm, the North conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sept 30, triggering a series of sanctions, and its most recent rocket launch in February.
Pyongyang has blamed the international community for the failure of the rocket launch, and the U.N. Security Council has imposed new sanctions.
Last week, Kim said his country was ready to make a “major and strategic move” to open up the economy to foreign investors and the world.
He also said the North would be ready to give up its nuclear weapons to allow China to reopen Kaeson Industrial Complex.