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Foreign Ministry to hold strategic talks with DPRK

(China Daily)

08:18, June 18, 2013

Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Yesui and his counterpart of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will hold strategic talks on Wednesday in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Zhang and Kim Kye-gwan, the DPRK's first deputy foreign minister, will discuss Beijing-Pyongyang ties and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing.

It is rare for the foreign ministries of the two countries to hold strategic talks because contacts between the two ruling parties are more common, observers said.

"The strategic talks make the relations between China and the DPRK less mysterious and indicate that the Beijing-Pyongyang ties are as normal as exchanges between China and other countries," said Wang Junsheng, a researcher on East Asia studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Mutual trust

Both sides believe the talks, which will be held several days before Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye's visit to China, will help enhance mutual trust and remove misgivings between the DPRK and the ROK.

Other groups are also planning to hold discussions this week on Pyongyang's nuclear issue. Six-Party Talks representatives from the US, the ROK and Japan will begin discussions on Tuesday in Washington, the ROK's Yonhap News Agency reported.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will start his visit to China on Tuesday, will also hold exchanges on the situation on the Korean Peninsula with Chinese officials.

In an interview with Xinhua News Agency, Ban highly commended the recent efforts by China to defuse tension on the peninsula, especially President Xi Jinping's receiving a special envoy from the DPRK.

"I would like to have more in-depth discussions with President Xi Jinping and other leaders on how China can contribute further to the reduction of tension on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

Ban said he expects that China will continue to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in facilitating dialogue between the ROK and the DPRK, "thus, reducing the tension on the Korean Peninsula".

The UN chief added that such efforts will have a positive effect beyond the peninsula and be conducive to peace and harmony in Northeast Asia.

Ban's scheduled visit this week is his sixth to China since he took office as the UN chief in 2007. He is to have exchanges with Chinese netizens through the UN's newly launched WeChat account - a well-known social media platform in China.

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