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Hu reviewed 60 years of China-DPRK ties, saying the friendship, initiated and fostered by the older generation of leaders, had withstood the test of international and domestic changes.
"The friendship, which has kept developing, has become the common treasure of both nations," Hu said.
The DPRK was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with China. The two countries forged diplomatic relations on Oct. 6, 1949, days after the People's Republic of China was founded.
Hu said the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government attach great importance to ties with the DPRK. China would like to work with the DPRK for a better good-neighbor cooperation.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R Front) meets with Premier of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Yong Il (L Front) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 19, 2009. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)
Kim came to China on an official goodwill visit and launched the China-DPRK Friendship Year in Beijing, a year-long exchange program marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
"We should take the opportunity of the friendship year to carry forward our traditional friendship, deepen strategic communication and promote substantive cooperation for a stronger bilateral relations," Hu said.
On the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Hu said a question confronting all parties concerned was how to overcome what he termed the current difficulties and resume the six-party talks at an early date.
"We hope parties concerned will take the overall situation into consideration and properly resolve the differences in a bid to promote the further progress of the talks," Hu said.
Initiated in 2003, the talks involve China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan. The last round of talks, held in Beijing in December, failed to make any substantive progress.
Kim, who was on his first visit to China since taking office in April 2007, hailed the deeply rooted DPRK-China friendship.
"Under the leadership of both countries, DPRK-China relations have developed soundly in recent years," Kim said.
He said the DPRK would unswervingly develop friendly cooperation with China and carry forward the bilateral traditional friendship.
"The DPRK will, as always, make unremitting efforts to cement and develop friendly ties with China," he said.
Kim said the DPRK people were happy about the significant achievements the Chinese people had made in economic and social development.
During his five-day visit, Kim first traveled to east China's Shandong Province and talked with his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, Wednesday.