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VK Singh holds talks in North Korea, first trip in 20 years

17 May 2018

"During the visit, the MoS held discussions with Mr Kim Yong Dae, vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Mr Ri Yong Ho, foreign minister, Mr Pak Chun Nam, minister of culture and Mr Choe Hui Chol, vice foreign minister of DPRK on a range of issues covering political, regional, economic, educational and cultural cooperation between the two countries".

The North Korean leader paid two surprise visits to China in recent months, first meeting Xi in Beijing and later in the border city of Dalian.

An official statement from the ministry of external affairs said the assurance came during minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh's two-day visit to North Korea starting Wednesday.

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The Ministry of External Affairs has remained lip closed regarding the visit of the minister VK Singh, in North Korea and not much detail are available as of now regarding the same.

A North Korean Workers Party of Korea (WPK) delegation met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, the third time Xi has met with DPRK officials in recent since late March.

It may be recalled that in October previous year, India had made it clear that it will not shut its embassy in North Korea, telling the U.S. it must have some friendly countries that have embassies in Pyongyang so that "communication channels are open".

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Kim particularly criticised USA 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. Experts believe that since 1970s, Pakistan and North Korea have cooperated extensively on the development of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons technologies. India complied with United Nations sanctions that were imposed on North Korea in 2016-17 and curtailed trade activities with Pyongyang. India points to the alleged role of Pakistan's AQ Khan in helping North Korea develop its nuclear program.

It may be recalled that in October a year ago, India had made it clear that it would not shut its embassy in North Korea. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said publicly, with then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by his side in October 2017, that "embassies of some of US' friendly countries should remain there so that some channels of communication remain open".

The two sides also chose to explore further ties in vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, yoga and traditional medicines to mark 45 years of diplomatic relations. The US, armed with reports that said India may have "unwittingly" contributed North Korea's rogue behaviour, lobbied with New Delhi to close down its mission and further reduce contacts.

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

VK Singh holds talks in North Korea, first trip in 20 years