Xi’s envoy meets North Korean officials

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/19 23:13:40

Pyongyang should make key adjustment: expert

A special envoy sent to North Korea by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has met with high-level officials of North Korea's Workers' Party, leading experts to suggest a breakthrough to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue might be possible.

The special envoy, Song Tao, is the head of the CPC Central Committee's International Department (CCID). His visit is to inform North Korea of the 19th CPC National Congress, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"This is a tradition between socialist countries. After a national congress, the Party will inform other socialist countries of their congress' achievement," said Lü Chao, a research fellow with the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

"This is a key moment. During the visit of US President Donald Trump in China this month, the US has already delivered a clear signal that it might launch unilateral operation," Lü told the Global Times.

The Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported that the envoy is expected to return to China on Monday, speculating that if Song is to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, "it will most likely happen Sunday."

As of press time there has been no announcement from China or North Korea about a meeting between Song and Kim.

"The relationship between the two ruling Parties is the stabilizer of bilateral ties, and the relationship between the two Parties is more flexible than the intergovernmental relationship, so on some difficult issues, the two Parties' relationship will bear unique value," said Zheng Jiyong, director of Shanghai-based Fudan University's Center for Korean Studies.

"We hope Pyongyang can treat this visit seriously. Song is the special envoy of Xi, which is very different from other diplomats. If Pyongyang can take this rare opportunity to make key adjustment to its nuclear program, it will largely ease tensions. If North Korea can accept China's 'dual-approach' through a significant meeting, the ball will be in the US' court and the common ground between China and North Korea will be increased," Lü said.

On Saturday, Song met Ri Su-yong, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of North Korea, Korea Central News Agency's reported.

"The two sides exchanged views on such matters of mutual concern, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region, as well as bilateral relations," said the report. Song also met with Choe Ryong-hae, vice chairman of the Central Committee of North Korea's Workers' Party on Friday, according to the website of CCID.

Newspaper headline: Xi’s envoy meets NK officials


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