All eyes on possible meeting between N. Korean leader, special Chinese envoy

The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) is ready to "steadily develop traditional friendly relations" with North Korea, said Beijing's top envoy who is on a visit to Pyongyang. This also gains additional significance since it is taking place amid high tensions in the region, mainly due to Pyongyang's relentless pursuit of its nuclear and missile programmes, defying United Nations regulations.

Trump has traded insults and threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as North Korea races toward its much publicized goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States.

A meeting between Song and Kim Jong-un was seen as an opportunity for the envoy to deliver a letter from Chinese President Xi and discuss the North's nuclear and missile tests.

China has not officially provided any details of Song's visit to Pyongyang or his meetings with North Korean officials.

But some analysts and China's state media have been cautious about overly high expectations for Song's visit.

China's special envoy on North Korea met high-ranking North Korean official Choe Ryong Hae after he arrived in the capital, Pyongyang, the North's official KCNA news agency said on Saturday.

Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged messages of congratulations and thanks over the Chinese party congress, but neither leader has visited the other's country since assuming power.

After arriving in Pyongyang on Friday, Song has met with Choe Ryong-hae - a senior official of the regime - as well as Ri Su-yong, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that the visit was a party tradition, and that the two sides would discuss matters of mutual concern. They exchanged views about the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, and bilateral relations, the KCNA said.

Washington has repeatedly called on Beijing, which accounts for 90 percent of Pyongyang's foreign trade, to put more economic pressure on the nuclear-armed North Korea.

Last week in Beijing, the talks between President Xi and Mr. Trump focussed heavily on North Korea.

South Korea and the United States agreed on Friday to keep working for a peaceful end to the North Korean nuclear crisis, but a USA envoy said it was hard to gauge the reclusive North's intentions as there has been "no signal". "If both sides insist on their own logic and refuse to move in the same direction, even if Song opens a door for talks, the door could be closed anytime", the newspaper said in an editorial.


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