China, N. Korea hold ‘strategic talks’


BEIJING: A high-ranking North Korean official with long experience as his country’s international nuclear negotiator held talks on Wednesday with Chinese officials, Beijing’s foreign ministry announced.

North Korean first vice foreign minister Kim Kye-Gwan and Chinese vice foreign minister Zhang Yesui co-chaired a “strategic dialogue” meeting between their ministries in the Chinese capital, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

“The two sides exchanged views on China-DPRK relations and the situation on the Korean peninsula,” she told a regular briefing, referring to North Korea by the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kim also met Wu Dawei, China’s special envoy for Korean peninsula affairs, Hua said.

The talks come amid ongoing tensions on the peninsula over the North’s nuclear program and mark the second high-level visit to China in less than a month by a North Korean official.

The visit also coincides with talks in Seoul on Wednesday and Thursday between United Nations’ chief Ban Ki-moon and Chinese leaders.

China has come under pressure to encourage North Korea to halt its nuclear program after the reclusive nation in February carried out its third underground nuclear test, which brought worldwide condemnation.

Wednesday’s meeting follows one last month between Chinese president Xi Jinping and North Korean special envoy Choe Ryong-Hae, a close confidant of the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un.

Tensions over the nuclear program have waned somewhat in recent months, amid a series of high profile meetings including a summit between US President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.


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