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China vice-premier Zhang Dejiang has arrived Sunday in North Korea for a four-day visit—to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a treaty of friendship between the two communist nations.
China is North Korea's closest ally and the two countries fought together during the Korean War in the 1950s.
According to the Associated Press, Chinese leader Hu Jintao sent North Korean leader Kim Jong-il a letter saying that maintaining strong ties is of vital importance.
Last May Chinese and North Korean leaders embarked on a new joint economic venture.