China’s foreign minister to visit N. Korea this week

China’s foreign minister to visit N. Korea this week

BEIJING – Agence France-Presse
China’s foreign minister to visit N. Korea this week

China’s foreign minister will visit North Korea this week, his office said April 30, becoming the highest-ranking Chinese official to travel there in years as Beijing moves to further improve ties with Pyongyang days after a landmark inter-Korean summit.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a brief statement that Wang Yi will visit North Korea on May 2 and 3 at the invitation of his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho.

The two met in Beijing in early April, days after talks between President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Chinese capital -- the first meeting between the leaders since Kim inherited power from his father Kim Jong Il in 2011.

Wang will be the first Chinese foreign minister to visit the North since 2007, a lapse that highlights the rough patch that relations between the Cold War-era allies have gone through in recent years.

Then then-premier Wen Jiabao visited Pyongyang in 2009.

China has supported a series of United Nations sanctions against the North over its nuclear weapons program.

But Beijing is likely eager to avoid being marginalized in the wave of diplomacy that led to last week’s historic summit between Kim and the South’s President Moon Jae-in.

Kim is expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in the coming weeks at a time and place that have yet to be announced.

The North Korean leader has also invited Xi to visit Pyongyang but no date has been set yet.

China, North Korea, Asia, visit, diplomacy, Wang Yi