General VK Singh makes surprise visit to North Korea
General VK Singh makes surprise visit to North Korea
VK Singh is first Indian minister to visit North Korea in 20 years even as Pyongyang reconsiders meeting US on June 12
17 May, 2018, 16:33
India's Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs General V.K. Singh (retired) became the first Indian minister to visit North Korea in 20 years.
In the meetings, the Ministry of External Affairs said, the North Korean side provided an "overview" of some of the recent developments in the Korean Peninsula while Singh conveyed India's concerns over proliferation linkages of North Korea with India's neighbourhood, seen as a clear reference to Pakistan. India points to the alleged role of Pakistan's AQ Khan in helping North Korea develop its nuclear program.
"We support the improvement of North-South (Korean) relations, the promotion of dialogue between North Korea and the USA, denuclearisation on the peninsula and North Korea's development of its economy", Mr Xi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster CCTV.
It may be recalled that in October previous year, India had made it clear that it will not shut its embassy in North Korea, telling the USA it must have some friendly countries that have embassies in Pyongyang so that "communication channels are open".
Municipal and provincial party chiefs from North Korea who visited China this week said openly they were there to learn from China's new open economy.
Last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed a joint statement following a historic summit aimed at improving ties between the two countries.
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Singh met a delegation including Kim Yong Dae, Vice President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Minister of Culture Pak Chun Nam and North Korea Vice Foreign Minister Choe Hui Chol.
The National Security Council, chaired by security adviser Chung Eui-yong, said South Korea will "closely mediate using multiple communication channels with the United States and North Korea so that the summit can proceed successfully". 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.
A statement published by the state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said Pyongyang would never accept economic assistance from the U.S. in exchange for unilaterally abandoning its nuclear programme.
Lu's statements expressed China's stance on the suspension on Wednesday by the DPRK of the inter-Korean meetings due to the development of the military operation Max Thunder between Seoul and Washington. India and North Korea established formal diplomatic relations in 1973.
The two sides also made a decision to explore further ties in vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, yoga and traditional medicines to mark 45 years of diplomatic relations.
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