China and North Korea will celebrate the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in 2009 in a ‘Year of Friendship’, reports AP. Yesterday, Chinese President Hu Jintao praised ‘deep and traditional friendship’ between the two nations and said, “The development of bilateral relations not only conforms to the fundamental interests and common will of the two peoples, but also contributes to the peace and stability of the region.” What will the two good friends do in this new ‘Year of Friendship’, you ask? For a crystal-clear answer, let’s turn to Xinhua:
During the year of friendship, China is willing to work together with the DPRK to further enhance friendship, promote exchanges and deepen cooperation through a variety of activities, in order to have a better future of China-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations.
In other interesting DPRK news, North Korea may use parliamentary elections in 2009 to lay the groundwork for the post Kim Jong-Il era. Meanwhile, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), North Korea’s first foreign-funded university is finally expected to open this year after several delays. The initiative to build this school came from a Korean American man by the name of Kim Chin-Kyung who was detained for six weeks in North Korea in 1998 for allegedly spying for the US, and who also helped found the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in northeast China. He raised about US$31.5 million from Christian churches and individual donors in South Korea and abroad to build this new school.