Chinese, North Korean foreign ministers meet ahead of major summits
Beijing (AFP) April 3, 2018 –
China’s foreign minister told his North Korean counterpart on Tuesday that Beijing appreciates Pyongyang’s efforts to ease nuclear tensions ahead of planned summits between the isolated country’s leader Kim Jong Un and the South Korean and US presidents.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho met China’s chief diplomat Wang Yi in Beijing just a week after Kim made a surprise trip to the Chinese capital to meet President Xi Jinping.
China and North Korea are trying to repair their own relations, which have been strained as Beijing has backed a slew of United Nations sanctions to pressure Pyongyang to stop its nuclear activities.
China is North Korea’s sole major ally and trade partner.
The latest visit is part of a flurry of diplomacy that has eased regional tensions after months of bellicose rhetoric between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
“China appreciates the North’s commitment to the denuclearisation of the peninsula and its important efforts to ease the situation on the peninsula, and supports the North’s leader’s meeting with the leaders of South Korea and the US,” Wang told Ri, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
Ri said Pyongyang was willing to develop the traditional friendly relations between the Cold War-era allies, and the ministry quoted Ri as saying the North “will also maintain close and strategic communication with China on Korean peninsula issues”.
Wang told his counterpart the two foreign ministries should increase exchanges at all levels.
“Under the current situation, maintaining and developing the traditional friendship between China and North Korea is very important for both countries and regions,” Wang said, according to the statement.
State media images showed Wang and Ri smiling as they shook hands and sat for talks.
North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said Ri was heading a government delegation that …read more
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