VK Singh to visit North Korea for peace talks

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The statement said the North Korean side "provided an overview of some of the recent developments in the Korean Peninsula". With Trump ready to meet Kim, Xi Jinping has had two summits already, Shinzo Abe has indicated he too wants a piece of the diplomatic action, while South Korea's president Moon Jae-In has already taken the first steps towards a reconciliation between the two Koreas.

Even as North Korea keeps the world in suspense over its proposed talks with the US and South Korea, the East Asian nation has given its assurance that it will not allow any action that will create concerns for India's security.

North Korea on Wednesday said it will never allow any action that will cause security concerns for India, responding to New Delhi's worries linking Pakistan's missile technology access to Pyongyang.

During the unannounced visit on May 15 and 16, Mr. Singh met Vice-President Kim Yong Dae, and the Foreign and Cultural Affairs Ministers and discussed "a range of issues covering political, regional, economic, educational and cultural cooperation between the two countries", the Ministry said in a statement. From left, Mitoji Yabunaka, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau; James Kelly, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs; Wang Yi, Chinese vice foreign minister; Kim Yong-il, North Korean vice foreign minister; Alexander Losyukov, Russian deputy foreign minister; and Lee Soo Hyuck, South Korean deputy foreign minister.

After the U.S. reached out to North Korea, in a surprise development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Retd.) VK Singh as his envoy to Pyongyang to open channels of communication.

People walk past the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore
People walk past the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore

China remains North Korea's most important trading partner despite imposing sanctions to try and curb the regime's nuclear ambitions.

The last high-level contact between the two countries was three years ago in April, 2015, when the North Korean foreign minister visited New Delhi.

It may be recalled that in October previous year, India had made it clear that it would not shut its embassy in North Korea.

India and North Korea also chose to explore possibilities of cooperation in areas of mutual interest including vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, promotion of Yoga and traditional medicines. The Indian outreach took advantage of the unprecedented events in the Korean peninsula and between the U.S. and North Korea that has not only relaxed sanctions but promises a unique opening between the two sides.

Singh visited North Korea on the occasion of completion of 45 years of establishment of diplomatic relations with India.

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