Beijing rejects North’s envoy request

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Beijing rejects North’s envoy request

BEIJING - Pyongyang has allegedly asked Beijing to send them an envoy in order to improve their soured relations, but Beijing turned it down, seen as a warning regarding the regime’s recent warmongering rhetoric.

Multiple sources in Beijing told the JoongAng Ilbo on Tuesday that “North Korea asked China to send a high-ranking envoy at the deputy-ministerial-level, but China rejected it.

“China said ‘if they want an envoy, North Korea should send their envoy [to China] first,’” the source said.

However, the North hasn’t sent an envoy to Beijing so far, the sources said.

If they do, China is likely to pressure them to stop saber-rattling and return to the six-party talks.

Since the communist allies established diplomatic ties in 1949, they have exchanged high-level envoys, at the deputy-minister level, once or twice a year.

However, since Li Jianguo, a member of the Politburo of China, visited North Korea on Nov. 29, 2012, there has been no high-level meeting between the two countries.

It is the second time for the two countries to suspend high-level interaction over several months.

In 1992, when South Korea and China established diplomatic relations, the two allies were disconnected for some months as well.

The sources said China tried to send Wu Dawei, the special representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, to Pyongyang, and urge them to scrap nuclear test plans, but North Korea reportedly rejected the envoy.

China also planned to send a ministerial-level envoy to North Korea in the wake of the regime’s Feb. 12 nuclear weapons test, but it was also turned down.

In March, Beijing also tried to send Li Zhaoxing, the former Chinese Foreign Minister, to the regime and stop further provocations, but Pyongyang also refused it.

Frustrated by the repeated refusals, China finally joined the UN Security Council’s adoption of a resolution to impose tougher sanctions on Pyongyang, and the bilateral relations between the two allies, which have been “a friendship in blood,” have deteriorated.

By Choi Hyung-kyu []

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