Asia Pacific / Politics

Chinese foreign minister to visit North Korea for three days from Monday

Kyodo

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is scheduled to visit North Korea for three days from Monday as requested by his counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday.

Wang’s upcoming trip comes as Pyongyang, whose denuclearization talks with the United States have been at a stalemate, has recently test-fired new weapons, raising security concerns in the region.

During his stay in North Korea, Wang is set to hold talks with Ri, the Chinese ministry said, as Beijing has expressed hope that Pyongyang will continue negotiations with the United States for regional peace and stability.

China and North Korea are marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.

In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping became the country’s first head of state to visit North Korea in 14 years, meeting with leader Kim Jong Un in the nation’s capital.

Until late 2017, ties between Beijing and Pyongyang had soured over North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, which could even pose a direct threat to China in the future.

Sino-North Korean relations, however, subsequently improved, with Kim visiting China four times for talks with Xi since early last year.

At their June 30 meeting at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom, meanwhile, Kim agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump that Washington and Pyongyang would resume stalled talks within weeks, but they have yet to be held.

Instead, North Korea has repeatedly launched new weapons in recent months. Last Saturday, it fired two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, in Pyongyang’s seventh round of such launches since July 25.