Chinese, S Korean leaders discuss N Korea

2015-10-31 20:16
(Chung Sung-Jun, AP)

(Chung Sung-Jun, AP)

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Seoul - South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang discussed North Korea and trade ties on Saturday as they met one-on-one in Seoul ahead of a trilateral summit with Japan.

According to the presidential Blue House, the two leaders had a "frank" exchange of views on the North Korean nuclear issue and the re-unification of the Korean peninsula.

As a result of those discussions, they agreed to "strengthen strategic-level communication".

The language of the statement is likely to annoy Pyongyang, which is already vexed by the diplomatic inroads Park has been making with Beijing over the past year or so.

China is North Korea's chief diplomatic protector and economic benefactor, but traditional ties have strained as Beijing's patience has worn thin with Pyongyang's provocative behaviour and unwillingness to rein in its nuclear weapons ambitions.

Lengthy hiatus

Park, who has met Chinese President Xi Jinping half-a-dozen times, has cosied up to China since taking office in early 2013, seeking to get one hand on the levers Beijing can manipulate when dealing with the North.

Pyongyang is especially nervous about any "strategic" discussions between Seoul and Beijing on Korean reunification - an issue on which the North wants China exclusively in its corner.

North Korea is also likely to figure high on the agenda when Park and Li sit down for the trilateral summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday.

The three-way gathering resumes what had been an annual summit mechanism until tensions between Northeast Asia's three largest economies in 2012 triggered a lengthy hiatus.

Beijing hopes reviving the summits will improve trade links and help bolster its slowing economy.


Read more on:    south korea  |  china  |  north korea

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