Xi Jinping meets with North Korean officials in Beijing

Xi Jinping meets with North Korean officials in Beijing

According to a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry, Singh held discussions with Vice President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Dae, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Minister of Culture Pak Chun Nam and Vice Foreign Minister Choe Hui Chol "on a range of issues covering political, regional, economic, educational and cultural cooperation between the two countries".

The visit followed the presentation of credentials by the new Indian Ambassador, Atul Gotsurve, indicating that Mr. Singh's meetings had been fixed quite recently.

Singh's reiteration of India's stand favouring the peace initiative came hours after Pyongyang cancelled a high-level meeting with Seoul - scheduled for Wednesday - in protest against a joint military drill by the USA and South Korea, calling it a provocation and a preparation for an invasion.

Even as Singh visited Pyongyang, North Korea threw next month's unparalleled summit between Kim Jong Un and U.S.

But in a major move, North Korea has assured India that "as a friendly country DPRK (N. Korea) will never allow any action that would create concerns for India's security".

Xinhua added the North Korean delegation wanted to learn from China's experience regarding economic development, and continue implementing the strategies agreed upon by Xi and Kim in their recent meetings.

India's outreach to Pyongyang comes in the wake of global efforts to curb the nuclear proliferation threats emerging from North Korea.

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

Kim particularly criticised US national security adviser John Bolton, who has called for North Korea in order to give up its nuclear arsenal in a deal that mirrors Libya's desertion of its weapons because of the mass destruction.

In April past year, India had sided with the United Nations by banning all trade with North Korea, except for food and medicine. "North Korea acted as an initiator [of reconciliation], which fact deserves definite approval", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as saying during his ongoing visit to France.

In 2004, Pakistan's most famous nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted to have transferred nuclear technology to North Korea and other nations, a confession that led to his detainment for five years.

However, US insistence of reducing North Korean diplomatic presence in India, as well as Indian diplomatic presence in Pyongyang, had been gently rejected by the Indian establishment.

India and North Korea established formal diplomatic relations on December 10, 1973 and this year marks the 45th year of establishment of diplomatic relations. India complied with United Nations sanctions that were imposed on North Korea in 2016-17 and curtailed trade activities with Pyongyang.

The two sides also made a decision to explore further ties in vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, yoga and traditional medicines to mark 45 years of diplomatic relations. India had been North Korea's second biggest trade partner after China.

Why Colin Cowherd Believes Losing To Celtics Could Help LeBron James' Legacy
Points improvement from Cavaliers star LeBron James' 15 points in the Eastern Conference Finals opener against Boston. He had just 15 points and missed all five of his three-point attempts in the 108-83 defeat in Game 1.

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