Chinese negotiator in DPRK
Updated: 2013-08-28 00:28
By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
Special envoy's trip aims to restart talks on peninsula nuclear issue
A top Chinese negotiator arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with a view to restarting the long-stalled Six-Party Talks and further improving the situation on the Korean peninsula, the Foreign Ministry told China Daily on Tuesday.
It is the first visit to Pyongyang in two years for Wu Dawei, China's special envoy for Korean affairs.
Wu Dawei (left), China's special envoy for Korean Peninsula affairs, is greeted by a DPRK official at Pyongyang airport. Wu is China's chief negotiator to the Six-Party Talks, aimed at ending the DPRK's nuclear program. Korean Central News Agency via AFP
Wu arrived on Monday, according to the Korean Central News Agency. The one-sentence report gave no details of his itinerary.
Footage of Wu being received by a group of officials at the airport was shown on the official television channel of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The Foreign Ministry said Wu has been invited by the DPRK's top nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye-gwan, who visited Beijing in June.
"The trip is based on a high-level agreement reached during the visit of Vice-President Li Yuanchao to the DPRK," said Wang Junsheng, a researcher on East Asian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Wu's visit comes after a slew of interactions between Beijing and Pyongyang.
Li traveled to Pyongyang in July to attend commemoration ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice. It was the highest-ranking visit from Beijing since Kim Jong-un, the top leader of the DPRK, took office in late 2011.
Kim told Li in their meeting that his government "supports China's efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks".
In late May, the first special envoy Kim sent to China since he took office said in Beijing that the DPRK is willing to take China's advice to engage in dialogue on the nuclear issue.
Zhang Liangui, an expert on Korean studies at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said Wu's priority during the visit should be to "have a clear idea of Pyongyang's attitude on the restarting of the talks".
The Six-Party Talks, initiated in 2003 in response to the DPRK's withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, involve the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia. The talks have been stalled since 2008.
Pyongyang said it is willing to start talks involving some of the six nations, without any preconditions. However, Washington and Seoul have demanded the denuclearization of the DPRK as a condition of the talks.
However, "it is unlikely that Wu's trip will yield significant results, as Pyongyang has been very firm on developing nuclear weapons," said Zhang.
Wang Junsheng from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the visit will at least lead Beijing and Pyongyang toward a greater consensus.
"Now there is hope for development on the issue. All countries involved should exert more effort and remain patient," he said.
Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency said that given Wu's specialization on the nuclear issue, it is unlikely that his visit will cover discussions on a possible visit by Kim Jong-un to China.
Another Yonhap report said, "Wu's visit has come as Pyongyang recently showed a friendly attitude toward countries including the ROK".
Wu's trip will "accelerate the formation of the atmosphere of multilateral talks, including the Six-Party Talks," said the report.
Pyongyang and Seoul are forging ahead with next month's reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, the first in three years.
Pyongyang has also accepted some preconditions set by Seoul for the revival of the Kaesong joint industrial complex.
Zhang Fan contributed to this story.