North Korea, China 'discussing Xi visit to Pyongyang'

17 April, 2018, 14:49 | Author: Wade Massey
  • South Koreans may visit North again ahead of first summit in decade

Known in the country as the "Day of the Sun", it fell this year on Sunday.

China and North Korea are trying to fix relations, which have been strained as Beijing has backed a series of United Nations sanctions meant to pressure Pyongyang to stop its nuclear activities.

Photos released by state media, as well as by tour companies that brought foreign tourists in for the holiday and a Spring Friendship Art Festival, showed no weapons but instead a weekend of performances, fireworks, dancing and sports.

Song led a Chinese troupe to North Korea for the festival.

Kim made a surprise visit to Beijing in late March to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was seen as benefiting both countries.

China, North Korea's traditional ally and biggest trading partner, has backed worldwide sanctions against the reclusive regime over a series of nuclear and missile tests by the North, which had frayed their relations.

But in late March, Kim made a visit to Beijing, his first known journey overseas since he took power in 2011.

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"The complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the most urgent task that lies before us and a task we must complete peacefully", the president said while attending a Buddhist service held for the success of his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Last November, Song visited North Korea as Xi's special envoy, but neither country's state-run media reported Song's meeting Kim, suggesting such a meeting did not happen. He will be the first North Korean leader to step on South Korean soil since the 1950s.

No peace treaty has been signed to replace the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, and the US and North Korea have been at loggerheads since formal hostilities ended.

He stressed that Seoul will therefore make efforts to communicate with the United States as the country and North Korea work on their summit.

The two Koreas may also discuss pulling some of their forces away from the heavily fortified demilitarized zone separating them, the newspaper said.

Seoul and Pyongyang are discussing the wording of a possible joint statement to be released at the summit on April 27, the official said.

The delegation of the Republic of Korea on March 5 met with the leader of the DPRK in Pyongyang.

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