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North Korea Crisis

Squabble over Chinese envoy hints at North Korea's anxiety

Pyongyang sought sanctions relief as part of visit as pressure mounts

OKI NAGAI, Nikkei staff writer | China

BEIJING -- North Korea made numerous attempts to compel China to ease sanctions in connection with the recent visit by a Chinese envoy, several sources say, signaling cracks in the decades-long friendship between the two nations amid mounting international pressure against Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development.

China traditionally sends a special envoy to the country following the twice-in-a-decade Communist Party National Congress. But when Beijing first discussed this year's trip, Pyongyang demanded that economic sanctions be eased in exchange, pressing China for siding with U.S. demands that the North abandon its nuclear program.

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