Trump shakes hands with Kim Jong Un as they meet at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, S.Korea. File photo/ Reuters
China has received a briefing from the United States on the latest meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, in a call between two senior diplomats.
Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea on Sunday when he met Kim in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at Panmunjom between the two Koreas and agreed to resume stalled nuclear talks.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun discussed that meeting in a telephone call on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a short statement.
“Biegun introduced the meeting between the US and North Korean leaders at Panmunjom, and said the US side is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with the Chinese side on the peninsula issue,” the ministry added.
Luo told Biegun the recent “positive interactions” on the North Korean issue by all parties had important meaning for the peace talks process, the ministry said.
“China supports US-North Korea exchanges and dialogue and hopes that the two sides will meet each other halfway and follow the consensus of the leaders of the two countries to resume consultations at the working level as soon as possible,” it added.
Trump’s meeting with Kim came around a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping met Kim himself during a state visit to Pyongyang.
While China has not officially announced it, Luo is likely China’s new special envoy for the North Korea issue, after predecessor Kong Xuanyou became China’s new ambassador in Tokyo in late May.
Luo was also involved in a briefing to Chinese reporters on Xi’s visit to North Korea before Xi went, according to state media.
Luo is an urbane career diplomat who speaks good English, according to diplomats who have met him.
He previously served as China’s ambassador in Canada, Pakistan and India, and also worked in the Chinese embassy in Washington from 1996-2000.
Xi "pushed for the US to show flexibility and meet the DPRK (North Korea) halfway, including the timely easing of sanctions against the DPRK and finding a solution to each other's concerns through dialogue," Wang Yi told reporters.
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North Korea will hold a plenary session of its ruling party’s central committee on Wednesday, a day after leader Kim Jong Un chaired a politburo meeting to discuss ways to make progress under the “prevailing tense situation,” state media reported.
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