Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi makes special trip to Pyongyang

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North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, right, poses with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, May 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed full support for peace on the Korean peninsula. But he took it one step further by meeting with the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong Un, in Pyongyang.

CGTN’s Audrey Siek reports.

This was Kim’s third meeting with a top Beijing official in just over a month, and follows last week’s inter-Korean summit. The Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to Pyongyang came amid warming ties, and Wang is a seasoned mediator when it comes to the DPRK.

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi (centre L) attends a meeting with North Korea’s foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho (centre R) at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on May 2, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / KIM Won-Jin)

Wang visited Pyongyang at the invitation of his counterpart Ri Yong Ho, and his trip came just days after the historic summit between the two Koreas.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (L) shakes hands with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in (R) at the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries ahead of their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. (AFP PHOT: Korea Summit Press Pool)

Wang is also the highest-ranking Chinese official to travel to the DPRK in over ten years. The visit is a follow-up to Kim Jong Un’s four-day trip to Beijing in March. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said denuclearization is at the top of its agenda.

“China has always insisted on a denuclearized Korean Peninsula in order to maintain peace and stability in the region. We have always insisted on finding a solution that responds to the appropriate concerns of all relevant parties through dialogue and negotiation.” – Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Ministry

There’s been rapid movement on the peninsula, especially with the U.S. expected to hold talks with the DPRK within weeks. Some observers have said Beijing is at risk of being sidelined in developments on the Korean peninsula. Many others, however, believe that’s impossible because China is the DPRK’s most important trading partner

This picture taken on May 2, 2018 and released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 3, 2018 shows China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho (2nd-R) raising their glasses during a meeting in Pyongyang. (AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS)

“As historical and existing strategic factors here, nobody, no party have the capability (of excluding) China from any fundamental negotiation or solution regarding the peninsula and the region as well,” Yang Xiyu of the China Institute of International Studies said.  

Wang expressed hope that the highly-anticipated dialogue with the United States leads to substantial progress. In the meantime, issues in the Korean Peninsula are expected to dominate a trilateral summit between China, South Korea and Japan next week in Tokyo. As regional leaders ramp up negotiations, hope builds around the world that peace may just be on the horizon.


Sam Yoon talks Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip to the DPRK

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke to Sam Yoon to find out more about Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s meeting with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang. Yoon is the Executive Director of the Council of Korean Americans.