CHINA’S top nuclear envoy will travel to South Korea this week for a five-day visit to discuss nuclear and missile threats by North Korea.
According to the Yonhap news agency, diplomatic sources revealed Wu Dawei also plans to meet with South Korean presidential candidates to get a feel of Seoul’s policy direction.
The meeting between the two countries will be the first time they have met since talks in Beijing last December.
It also comes amid speculation that North Korea may carry out a sixth and major nuclear test soon, among other provocations it could be planning. Pyongyang test-fired a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast on Wednesday, ahead of the recently concluded summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Pyongyang has repeatedly violated United Security Council resolutions aimed at its quelling its nuclear and missile programme.
China’s nuclear envoy’s visit to Seoul comes as a U.S. navy strike group is due to move toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula.
“We feel the increased presence is necessary,” said a US official who was not authorised to speak to the media and requested anonymity.
This comes as Trump’s national security aides completed a review of the options the US has to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes. The options reportedly lean towards sanctions and increased pressure on Beijing to reign in its reclusive neighbour.
The US has also explained to China, America’s position on the deployment of the U.S.-supplied High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea, arguing that it is aimed at countering North Korea’s missile threat, which Washington views as serious.