South’s foreign minister makes first visit to China

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South’s foreign minister makes first visit to China

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se paid a visit to China yesterday for his first ministerial-level meeting under the Park Geun-hye administration and discussed North Korea’s nuclear threat with China, a close ally of the communist state.

“We will have a deep discussion to exchange opinions on how to strengthen Korea-China relations from now on,” Yun told South Korean reporters at the Gimpo International Airport before taking a flight to Beijing.

Yun planned to meet with his counterpart Wang Yi, China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Wang Jiarui, head of the International Liaison Department of the ruling party during the one-day trip.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yun shared his opinions with the Chinese officials on the ongoing situation regarding North Korea, particularly how they would be able to persuade Pyongyang to stop provocations and return to the negotiation table in a peaceful way.

Cho Tai-young, spokesman of the ministry, said at a daily briefing on Tuesday that it would be “very beneficial to discuss the current affairs on the Korean Peninsula with China” and the South Korean government “believes that China would play a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

Cho reaffirmed the South Korean government’s position on dealing with North Korea’s nuclear armament, saying “we can never accept North Korea’s position on refusing a talk for denuclearization and only accepting one for nuclear armament.”

North Korea has ratcheted up its bellicose threats against Seoul and Washington on almost a daily basis since the UN Security Council members enacted fresh sanctions against the regime to punish its latest missile and nuclear tests.

In defiance of international pressure to urge the regime to stop its nuclear weapons program, North Korea has suspended an industrial park jointly run with the South for the first time since it started operations in 2004.

By Kim Hee-jin []
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