Senior Chinese diplomat to visit North Korea this week

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 15, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy will visit North Korea from 17 November, days after President Xi Jinping met with United States President Donald Trump, China's official Xinhua news agency said on 15 November.

North Korea's ties with China, its main ally and economic benefactor, have been frayed over Pyongyang's persistent advancement of its nuclear and missile programs.

Song Tao, the head of the worldwide department at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, will leave for North Korea on Friday, according to China's Xinhua news agency.

Trump has been urging China to do more to rein in North Korea, and North Korea has refrained from any ballistic missile tests over the past two months, which has led to speculation of a possible diplomatic opening.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang October 8, 2017.

Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang did not say whether the nuclear issue would be discussed but he said China was "committed to the denuclearisation of the peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability of the peninsula, and resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation".

Kim and Xi exchanged messages of congratulations and thanks over the Chinese party congress, but neither leader has visited the other's country since assuming power.

"One striking thing was North Korea was absent from his outcome list", said Shi Yinhong, a foreign affairs adviser to the State Council and director of Renmin University's Center on American Studies in Beijing.

China to send special envoy to North Korea
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Official statements from both the White House and Beijing regarding Trump's visit to China did not refer to any specific progress on North Korea. While China has backed tougher United Nations sanctions against the country, it also doesn't want to see his regime collapse - a move that could bring a refugee crisis and U.S. troops on its border.

North Korea has time and again said it has no intention of backing away from its nuclear program.

"Before Trump's visit to China, there was a strong smell of gunpowder between the USA and North Korea", Wang said.

The pariah nation also reportedly didn't respond to an April request from China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi to meet officials in North Korea.

China's calls for restraint have not stopped the name calling.

"The worst crime for which he can never be pardoned is that he dared (to) malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership", the editorial said.

"He should know that he is just a ugly criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people".

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