SEOUL: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un told a visiting envoy sent by Chinese President Xi Jinping that he wants to improve relations with South Korea, Chinese state media reported Saturday.
Kim made the remarks to senior Chinese envoy Liu Yunshan on Friday ahead of a massive parade in Pyongyang marking the 70th anniversary of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party.
Liu, who ranks fifth in China’s ruling Communist Party hierarchy, handed the North Korean leader a letter from Xi that said Beijing attached “vital importance” to its ties with the North, Xinhua said.
Kim told Liu that North Korea needs “a peaceful and stable external environment as it is striving to develop (its) economy and improve people’s livelihood.
“The DPRK (North Korea) is willing to make efforts to improve relations between the north and the south and safeguard the stability of the peninsula”, Xinhua reported the young leader as saying.
Liu was cited as saying that maintaining peace and stability of the Korean peninsula “benefits all sides”, according to Xinhua, and China was “willing to work with the DPRK (North Korea) to strive for early resumption of the six-party talks on the nuclear issue.”
Diplomatic efforts to resume the six-party talks, which involve South Korea, North Korea, the US, China, Russia and Japan, are aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions, and have got nowhere.
Beijing has become increasingly annoyed at Pyongyang’s provocative antics and refusal to heed its calls for restraint, especially over its nuclear weapons program.
China has been North Korea’s ally since it sent troops to bolster its forces during the 1950-53 Korean War.
But Kim, who came to power after the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011, has yet to even meet Xi.
However, the Chinese leader has sat down six times with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, who took office in 2013.