Choe Son Hui leaves the Ritz-Carlton hotel following a meeting in Singapore. File photo/Reuters
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui travelled to Moscow on Monday, possibly to discuss North Korea’s efforts to negotiate an agreement with the United States, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.
Choe has been at the forefront of negotiations that the United States hopes will lead to North Korea’s dismantling of its nuclear and missile programmes, in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
The talks have made no significant progress since a second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed in Vietnam in February, even though the two leaders agreed in June to reopen them.
North Korean state media made no mention of Choe’s trip to Russia.
Kyodo, without citing sources, said he could be looking to discuss the US negotiations on his trip to Russia, which has been involved in efforts to press North Korea to disarm. It was for years involved in so-called six-party talks, which collapsed in 2008.
This month, North Korea said it had turned down a US offer for more talks, saying it was not interested if they were aimed at “appeasing us” ahead of a year-end deadline Kim has set for the United States to show more flexibility.
While North Korea wants punishing sanctions lifted, the United States has insisted Kim must dismantle his nuclear weapons programme first.
The recent US extension of sanctions against North Korea was an act of hostility and an outright challenge to an historic summit between the two countries in Singapore last year, Pyongyang’s state media said on Wednesday.
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.
China urged the United States on Thursday to adopt an approach more conducive to dialogue in response to North Korea’s goodwill in wanting to resume denuclearization talks, and again suggested United Nations
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