N Korean foreign minister makes rare visit to China

ANI | Updated: Apr 03, 2018 20:06 IST

Seoul [South Korea], Apr 3 (ANI): North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho embarked on a visit to Beijing and held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Tuesday, China's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The visit comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last week made a surprised and an unannounced visit to the Chinese capital and met with President Xi Jinping to improve bilateral relations between the two countries.

Kim's visit to China was the first visit by the North Korean leader after he came to power in 2011, Yonhap news agency reported.

During the meet, Ri and Wang were believed to have held a follow-up discussion on talks between Kim and Xi.

Foreign Minister Ri may have discussed details of the issues concerning the Korean Peninsula with its ally, China, ahead of the South-North and U.S.-North summits," a diplomatic source said.

The North Korean foreign minister, who is reportedly staying in the North Korean embassy in Beijing, will visit Baku in Azerbaijan, where he is planning to attend a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ministerial meeting scheduled to be held from Wednesday to Thursday.

The diplomatic source added that Ri is likely to visit Russia after the meeting in Azerbaijan in mid-April.

Last month, Ri visited Sweden and met Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and Foreign Minister Margot Elisabeth Wallstrom.

Ri's visit to China comes ahead of the inter-Korean summit, which is to be held on April 27 between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Panmunjom, the border village located in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).

The two leaders are expected to discuss on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula as well as a peace plan, in an effort to improve the bilateral relations between the two countries.

There has been a pressing need for the denuclearisation of North Korea by Japan, the US, China and South Korea. On the same lines, a proposed summit is expected to take place between US President Donald Trump and Kim in May. (ANI)