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Chinese, South Korean envoys to discuss North in Seoul

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Kong Xuanyou PHOTO: Prokerala

China will send a special envoy to Seoul to discuss the situation on the Korean peninsula ahead of proposed talks between North and South Korea, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou will visit Friday and Saturday to “exchange views” with Lee Do-Hoon, Seoul’s envoy on Korean peninsula peace talks, a ministry spokesman said.

Their meeting comes as South Korea prepares for its proposed high-level talks with North Korea next Tuesday to discuss “matters of mutual interest” including the North’s participation in next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

North Korea has rattled the international community in recent months with multiple missile launches and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test — purportedly of a hydrogen bomb.

It has shrugged off a raft of new sanctions and heightened rhetoric from Washington as it drives forward with its weapons programme, which it says is for defence against US aggression.

But the new year has begun on a more positive note with the two Koreas on Wednesday restoring a cross-border hotline that had been shut down since 2016, after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un offered to send a team to the Winter Olympics hosted by the South in February.

The Olympic offer prompted Seoul to respond with its offer for talks next week — the first since 2015.

A six-nation effort to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear programmes was begun in 2003, bringing together China, the United States, both Koreas, Russia and Japan.

North Korea pledged to give up those programmes in 2005, but carried out its first atomic blast the following year. It walked out of the talks three years later, detonating its second device soon afterwards.


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