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VK Singh visits North Korea, raises issue of N-links with Pak

17 May 2018

A North Korean Workers Party of Korea (WPK) delegation met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, the third time Xi has met with DPRK officials in recent since late March.

Junior external affairs minister V.K. Singh is on a two-day trip to North Korea in what is the first ministerial visit from India to the DPRK since 1998.

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.

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State media of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said early Wednesday that Pyongyang would suspend high-level talks with the Republic of Korea (ROK) indefinitely and threatened to withdraw from a scheduled meeting with the United States over an ongoing U.S. -ROK joint military exercise. An MEA statement on the visit claimed that the DPRK had assured India that as a friendly country, it would never allow any action that would create concerns for India's security. India has time and again condemned North Korea's nuclear ambitions. "As we have said before, we also believe that any solution to the issues in Korean Peninsula must also take into account and address concerns about the proliferation linkages of DPRK's nuclear and missile programme", MEA's official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said, in a reference to links between Pakistan's nuclear programme and the North Korean nuclear and missile programme.

The MoS highlighted the threat posed to India from nuclear proliferation.

It may be recalled that in October past year, India had made it clear that it would not shut its embassy in North Korea. In 2017, New Delhi had even refused a request from then U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to shut down its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang altogether.

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Further, Singh reiterated the on-going peace process between North-South Korea as he encouraged both the sides to establish peace and prosperity in the Korean peninsula. In 2015, North Korean foreign minister Ri Su Yong had visited New Delhi to hold talks with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. People familiar with China-North Korea ties said the officials would visit areas including the inland province of Shaanxi and Shanghai for an economic inspection tour.

But after Singh's visit, India and North Korea will now discuss future cooperation in education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, yoga and traditional medicines. "Both sides agreed to strengthen people-to-people contacts through educational and cultural exchange, to mark 45 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries".

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VK Singh visits North Korea, raises issue of N-links with Pak