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(2nd LD) N. Korean minister reaffirms denuclearization commitment in Beijing talks

North Korea 17:53 December 07, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with Chinese minister's remarks in paras 5-9)

BEIJING, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Friday that Pyongyang's commitment to denuclearization remains unchanged, according to Wang's ministry.

The top diplomats of the communist allies met at the Daioyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, less than a week after a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Ri was quoted as saying that his country is trying to create peaceful external conditions to implement an "important decision" made by the Workers' Party of Korea.

He added the North maintains its policy of making the peninsula free of nuclear weapons and achieving peace and stability, the ministry said.

This AP photo shows North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho (L) shaking hands with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing on Dec. 7, 2018. (Yonhap)

Ri expressed hope for continued cooperation between Pyongyang and Beijing on the issue, saying bilateral ties have entered a "new development phase" this year. In 2019, the two nations will mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations.

Wang, who doubles as state councilor, agreed that the relationship between the two sides is on the cusp of entering a "new historical stage" as their leaders had three rounds of summit talks this year.

Wang said China wants North Korea to maintain dialogue with the U.S. for a "balanced resolution" to pending issues.

He also made it clear that the Chinese government supports the strengthening of relations between South and North Korea and their push for cooperation and reconciliation.

Their talks were joined by Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, China's special representative for Korean peninsula affairs.

According to diplomatic sources in Beijing, Ri was briefed on the results of the Trump-Xi meeting in Argentina last weekend.

There's speculation that Ri may pay a courtesy call on Xi during his Beijing stay.

The minister arrived in the Chinese capital on Thursday and plans to return to Pyongyang on Saturday morning.

He traveled to Vietnam and Syria before the trip here.


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