North Korean, Chinese Top Diplomats Meet in Pyongyang amid Stalled Nuclear Talks

The foreign ministers of China and North Korea have held talks in Pyongyang, with the two allies vowing to bolster bilateral ties and work closely on security issues amid the North’s stalled nuclear talks with the U.S., The Japan Times writes.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and North Korean top diplomat Ri Yong Ho met Monday to discuss a wide range of issues, including regional security and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

Wang is in the North Korean capital for a three-day visit, and speculation has grown that the trip could be aimed at helping Pyongyang shore up its position in the nuclear talks while also laying the groundwork for a possible visit by leader Kim Jong-un to Beijing, the Japan Times adds.

Kim and Xi have met five times, the latest summit coming in June, when the Chinese leader made his first visit to Pyongyang.

During Monday’s meeting, Wang was quoted as saying that China maintains its stance that it hopes to move forward friendly relations with the North, while also expressing a desire for closer international cooperation and communication in a number of fields.

Apparently referring to Pyongyang’s stated shift in policy emphasizing economic development over building up its nuclear program, Wang noted that the North’s “new strategic line” has contributed to progress in a variety of areas while adding that “joint efforts” would lead to a brighter future for bilateral ties.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the neighbors, and Wang also emphasized that over the past seven decades, “no matter how the international situation changes,” China and the North “have always been in the same boat and stood shoulder to shoulder.”

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