VK Singh visits North Korea, raises issue of N-links with Pak

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang

A North Korean Workers Party of Korea (WPK) delegation met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, the third time Xi has met with DPRK officials in recent since late March. From left, Mitoji Yabunaka, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau; James Kelly, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs; Wang Yi, Chinese vice foreign minister; Kim Yong-il, North Korean vice foreign minister; Alexander Losyukov, Russian deputy foreign minister; and Lee Soo Hyuck, South Korean deputy foreign minister.

"The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) side emphasised that, as a friendly country, DPRK will never allow any action that would create concerns for India's security", the External Affairs Ministry statement said.

Singh is said to have reiterated India's support to the joint peace initiative of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea leadership, encouraging both sides to establish peace and prosperity in the Korean Peninsula. Mr. Singh raised the issue of North Korean links with Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Spokesman Lu Kang told reporters that the parties must express sincerity, have good will and guarantee the conditions of the meeting scheduled for June between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Singh's reiteration of India's stand favouring the peace initiative came hours after Pyongyang cancelled a high-level meeting with Seoul - scheduled for Wednesday - in protest against a joint military drill by the US and South Korea, calling it a provocation and a preparation for an invasion. Singh held discussions with the Kim Yong Dae, Vice President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Ri Yong Ho, Foreign Minister, Pak Chun Nam, Minister of Culture and Choe Hui Chol, Vice Foreign Minister of DPRK on a range of issues covering political, regional, economic, educational, and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

It may be recalled that in October previous year, India had made it clear that it would not shut its embassy in North Korea.

India and North Korea also chose to explore possibilities of cooperation in areas of mutual interest including vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, promotion of Yoga and traditional medicines. India established diplomatic relations with the North 45 years ago and has a small embassy there, but in recent years it halted trade and aid as the United States stepped up global pressure to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programmes. The US, armed with reports that said India may have "unwittingly" contributed North Korea's rogue behaviour, lobbied with New Delhi to close down its mission and further reduce contacts. India had been North Korea's second biggest trade partner after China.

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