China says hopes for stability in ally North Korea

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Associated Press

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 5:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 10 at 6:04 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China, North Korea's most important ally, says it wants friendly relations and hopes for stability following the purging of a top official considered close to Beijing.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday that Jang Song Thaek's ouster was an internal affair, but that China hopes North Korea can maintain stability and economic growth.

Jang, the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Jun, was stripped of his titles for alleged transgressions including instigating party dissent and squandering party funds on drugs, gambling and women.

In 2012, he led a large business delegation to China to discuss construction of special economic zones. His dismissal leaves China with few conduits into the North Korean leadership. China is North Korea's only significant ally and a key source of trade and aid.

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