N.Korean Officials 'to Learn from China's Market Opening'

Pauline Gross
May 17, 2018

In view of the rapprochement between North and South Korea and the stage being set for a summit between the United States and North Korea, India has resumed ministerial-level visits from its side to North Korea after almost 20 years.

India's Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs General V.K. Singh (retired) became the first Indian minister to visit North Korea in 20 years.

After the USA reached out to North Korea, in a surprise development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Retd.) VK Singh as his envoy to Pyongyang to open channels of communication.

A North Korean delegation has left Beijing for a tour of provincial Chinese cities to study economic development.

Kim particularly criticised US national security adviser John Bolton, who has called for North Korea in order to give up its nuclear arsenal in a deal that mirrors Libya's desertion of its weapons because of the mass destruction. In the past year, India had joined the USA and allies in "deploring" North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile tests, although it had earlier refrained from such a strong language.

The reference seemed to be to reports for the past more than two decades of alleged clandestine nuclear and missile technology links between North Korea and Pakistan.

"The minister of state highlighted the threat from nuclear proliferation, in particular India's concerns in the context of the proliferation linkages with India's neighbourhood".

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China is North Korea's most important economic partner and has long sought to convince its neighbour to follow Beijing's path of enacting free market reforms while maintaining tight single-party rule.

In April a year ago, India had sided with the United Nations by banning all trade with North Korea, except for food and medicine.

The North Korean officials arrived in Beijing on Monday. New Delhi rejected the then U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson's request to shut down its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang.

On Wednesday, the MEA said, "The two sides made a decision to explore possibilities of cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, promotion of Yoga and traditional medicines".

In a missive delivered to the South in the early hours during the day, the North said it was suspending high-level talks scheduled for Wednesday in view of "provocative military disturbances with South Korea". The two leaders also agreed on enhancing people-to-people relations in the field of education and culture.

India, which maintained minimal diplomatic relations with the DPRK despite pressure from Washington to close its mission in Pyongyang and cut trade ties, also used the fragile improvement in North Korea's ties with the U.S. to explore possibilities of cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and promotion of yoga and traditional medicines.

Other reports by GizPress

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