China will send a special envoy to North Korea, after President Donald Trump concluded his Asian tour, during which he states his concerns regarding Pyongyang’s nuclear programs. President Xi Jinping’s special envoy, Song Tao, is going to North Korea on Friday to discuss the Chinese Communist Party’s congress, which took place last month, Xinhua news agency said, Newsmax writes.
Xinhua said Song would carry out a “visit” in addition to delivering his report, but gave no details about his itinerary or meetings. The announcement came a day after the end of Trump’s five-nation tour of Asia, including meetings with Xi during which the Trump urged his Chinese counterpart to act fast to rein in North Korea, warning that “time is quickly running out.”
However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang downplayed any connection between Song’s trip and Trump’s visit, saying it was “common practice” for the Communist Party and North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party to exchange views, The Associated Press/ABC News writes.
“The purpose of this visit is to brief about the party congress and exchange views on issues of common interest and bilateral interest,” Geng said at a regularly scheduled briefing.
Song would be the first ministerial-level Chinese official to visit North Korea since October 2015, when Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan met with leader Kim Jong-un, the Associated Press adds. North Korea staged its sixth nuclear test on September 3, detonating what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb, and last launched a ballistic missile on September 15, firing it over the Japanese island of Hokkaido into the Pacific Ocean.