North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Thursday and reiterated his commitment to the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”, China’s foreign ministry said in a press release.
Wang, who is in North Korea at the invitation of the DPRK foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, also conveyed his congratulations to the leader for staging the first high-level inter-Korean summit since 2007, which took place at Panmunjom on Friday.
“Kim Jong Un said that the realization of the denuclearization of the peninsula is the firm position of the DPRK,” the press release read.
“For some time now, the positive changes in the situation on the peninsula have been meaningful and conducive to the peaceful settlement of the peninsula issue,” it added.
Wang credited both North and South Korea for the successful staging of the inter-Korean summit and for engaging in dialogue and conveyed China’s support for what it called the “epoch-making” joint declaration signed by Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the summit.
While the State Councillor’s visit occurs in the wake of the inter-Korean summit, according to the foreign ministry, Wang’s trip to the DPRK is primarily a follow up to the summit between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was held in Beijing in March.
The summit represented Kim’s first overseas trip since assuming power in late 2011 and both countries pledged to strengthen dialogue and bilateral ties following Kim’s departure.
The Chinese foreign ministry also issued a press release regarding Wang’s conversations with Ri to that effect, which took place a day prior on May 2.
“China is ready to work with the DPRK to effectively implement the important consensus of the top leaders of the two countries,” it read.
According to the statement, this includes efforts to “strengthen the communication and coordination between the political and diplomatic departments of the two countries, promote bilateral economic and trade pragmatic cooperation, and invigorate the humanities exchanges between the two countries so that the Sino-Korean relations in the new era will continue (to) inject new vitality.”
Despite a downturn in official bilateral trade figures amid expanding sanctions in 2017, China remains North Korea’s main trading partner and economic lifeline.
While North Korea’s diplomatic engagement with China and South Korea at the highest levels appear to have been successful, all eyes remain on the upcoming summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump – slated to take place in May or June.
“We hope the dialogue between the DPRK and the United States will be successfully held and substantial progress will be made,” Wang also conveyed to Ri during their discussions according to the press release.
While Kim has reiterated his commitment to the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”, it remains unclear to what degree this statement conforms with the stated U.S. target of Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Denuclearization (CVID).
Featured Image: Chinese FM
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