Foreign ministers of North Korea and China wrap up three days of talks

Foreign ministers of North Korea and China wrap up three days of talks

Today, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will leave for a three-day visit to China to strengthen bilateral ties

north korea china

Photo: AFP/JIJI

Today, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will leave for a three-day visit to China to strengthen bilateral ties and discuss tensions surrounding the Korean Peninsula.

Beijing remains North Korea’s largest source of political and economic support amid ongoing negotiations between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington. While some progress regarding a Korean War peace treaty has been made in recent weeks, talks on disarmament remain stalled; North Korea has continued upgrading existing missile sites and international sanctions remain in place.

Beijing has called to lift sanctions on the North in exchange for concrete disarmament, as China’s national interest is a denuclearised North Korea firmly in its sphere of influence. However, further economic freedom could also catalyse North-South integration, potentially threatening a loss of Chinese influence over Pyongyang in the long-run.

Expect both parties to push for stronger bilateral ties today, potentially through continued investment deals and under-the-table trade. North Korea needs economic stimulus to rebuild its crippled economy while China seeks to preserve its regional influence. However, Beijing walks a fine line; if North Korea no longer feels pressured, denuclearisation talks may fall through.

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