Shanghai, (AFP/APP):A senior Chinese envoy has met an aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang, the two sides said Saturday, stressing longstanding ties despite deep divisions over the North’s nuclear activities.
Song Tao is visiting on behalf of President Xi Jinping, ostensibly to brief the North’s officials on the recent Chinese Communist Party congress and other “issues of mutual interest”. The two communist neighbours, once said by Mao Zedong to be “as close as lips and teeth”, are at odds over the nuclear standoff and US President Donald Trump is urging Beijing to pile pressure on Pyongyang.
Song, the first senior Chinese envoy to visit in more than a year, had been widely expected to raise the impasse over North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests in his Friday meeting with Choe Ryong-Hae, a top official in North Korea’s ruling party. But a Chinese Communist Party report of the meeting made no mention of those issues, focusing instead on platitudes about the long relationship.
A party statement said Song and Choe agreed that mutual ties were “the common treasure of the two peoples”. “Both parties should make concerted efforts to promote the development of the relations between the two parties and the two countries and let them benefit the two peoples,” the statement paraphrased them as saying.