China hopes US, North Korea meeting advances smoothly, Foreign Minister Wang Yi says
Opportunity for leaders to discuss denuclearisation of Korean peninsula should be ‘cherished’
Beijing hopes that a planned meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States advances smoothly, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also a State Councillor, said China hoped all sides cherished the opportunity.
The reasonable security concerns of all sides regarding the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula should be taken into account, he said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently held a surprise summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing during his first foreign trip since succeeding his father Kim Jong-il in 2011.
North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is set to visit Russia, Azerbaijan and other former Soviet republics in the coming days, according to a diplomatic source.
Ri is likely to attend a ministerial-level meeting of the Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, on Thursday and Friday, the person said.
North Korea has intensified diplomatic efforts ahead of its planned summit with South Korea on April 27 and first-ever high-level talks with the United States possibly by the end of next month.
In Moscow, Ri is expected to talk to senior Russian government officials about the situation on the Korean peninsula.
Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last week that the country was working towards a string of meetings about the North Korean issue in Moscow soon, including one involving Ri.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, said President Vladimir Putin had no immediate plans to hold a summit with Kim.
In mid-March, Ri visited Sweden, whose embassy in Pyongyang represents US interests in North Korea, and talked with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom. He also accompanied Kim to China.
Additional reporting by Kyodo