South Korea's chief nuclear envoy will visit China this week to coordinate the countries' implementation of new sanctions on North Korea, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
Kim Hong-kyun, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, will visit Beijing Friday for talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei. It will be his first meeting with Wu since taking office last month.
"Special Representative Kim plans to share assessments of the political situation on the Korean Peninsula with the Chinese side and discuss overall cooperation measures between South Korea and China, including the faithful implementation of the U.N. Security Council's sanctions resolution against North Korea," Cho June-hyuck, a ministry spokesman, said during a regular press briefing.
Tensions remain high on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea has threatened to carry out further nuclear tests and ballistic rocket launchings in defiance of international sanctions punishing it for its fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch last month.
The new U.N. sanctions were adopted earlier this month after close coordination between Washington and Beijing, two of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the council. They include the mandatory inspection of all cargo going in and out of the North and a ban on the country's exports of coal and other mineral resources, which serve as a key source of hard currency for the cash-strapped regime.
Friday's meeting between Kim and Wu is expected to contribute to the close coordination between South Korea, the U.S. and China as the three sides jointly respond to the North Korean nuclear issue, including through the implementation of the Security Council resolution, Cho said.
Last week, the South Korean envoy traveled to Washington for similar talks with his U.S. counterpart, Sung Kim, during which the two sides agreed to focus on putting strong pressure on the North to ultimately change its behavior. They also agreed to warn Pyongyang of a stronger response should it make additional provocations.
China, the North's last major ally and economic benefactor, has vowed to strictly enforce the U.N. sanctions. However, it has also called for resuming dialogue with Pyongyang to fundamentally resolve the standoff over its nuclear program. (Yonhap)