China's nuke envoy visits N. Korea

By 윤민식
  • Published : Mar 17, 2014 - 20:30
  • Updated : Mar 17, 2014 - 20:30
China's top negotiator on North Korea's nuclear program is visiting Pyongyang, the country's state media reported on Monday.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not give specifics on Wu Dawei's visit or the exact date of his arrival, but only said he had arrived in the North's capital.

Wu's trip is the latest in a series of visits from Chinese officials to the neighboring country since the high-profile purge of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle in December.

Last month, the Chinese delegation, led by Deputy Director-General of Asian Affairs Xing Haiming, visited North Korea in order to discuss the resumption of the stalled six-party talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons program.

The dramatic downfall of Jang Song-thaek, the once-powerful uncle of the North's young leader Kim, marked the biggest political upheaval since the North's young leader Kim took power after his father's death in late 2011.

China, North Korea's key ally and economic lifeline, has been in a delicate position because Jang was considered a supporter of China-style reforms to revive the North's moribund economy and played an important role in dealing with economic projects with Beijing.

Since its third nuclear test in February last year, North Korea has repeatedly expressed its willingness to reopen the six-party talks "without preconditions," but Seoul and Washington have demand Pyongyang demonstrate its sincerity first by taking steps toward denuclearization.

China has been more accommodating toward North Korea, urging South Korea and the U.S. to lower the bar for sitting down at the negotiating table.

The six-party talks, which involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, have been dormant since late 2008. (Yonhap)