CHINA’S President Xi Jinping has met with North Korean officials asserting a friendship “sealed in blood” and the importance of mutual economic development, the North’s state media reported on Thursday.
Xi met with a delegation of senior officials from the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Wednesday, emphasising his support for the North’s efforts to develop its economy and improve relations with Seoul.
“Welcoming the friendship group’s visit to China, Xi Jinping said that China is attaching very importance to the work to propel the traditional friendship between the two countries sealed in blood to a higher stage as required by the new era,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English report, as quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
“He noted with pleasure that he met Chairman Kim Jong-un two times and exchanged the comprehensive and detailed views on the matters of concern including the development of the relations between the two parties and the two countries and the regional and international situation,” added the report.
On Thursday, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said that North Korea’s efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula should be acknowledged and that all parties including the United States should cherish the opportunity for peace.
Historic talks between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.
But after weeks of warm words and diplomatic backslapping, Pyongyang abruptly threatened to pull out Tuesday, over US demands for “unilateral nuclear abandonment.” Asked whether the talks would proceed, Trump told reporters that “we’ll have to see.”
“We haven’t seen anything. We haven’t heard anything. We will see what happens. Whatever it is, it is,” he said.
In an angrily worded statement earlier this week, the North warned “if the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue.”
Previous attempts to persuade North Korea to back off its nuclear weapons program have been doomed, in part by the North’s concerns about being attacked and enmity between Pyongyang and Washington.
The US is pressing for North Korea’s complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation. But so far, the North has given no public indication of what it is offering, beyond a broad commitment to denuclearisation of the “Korean peninsula.”
Additional reporting from AFP and Reuters.