China, DPRK to build new bridges for relief supplies
Beijing and Pyongyang held their third meeting of a joint border commission on Tuesday, agreeing to build new bridges over the Tumen River.
The meeting was co-chaired by visiting Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and his counterpart Pak Myong-guk, from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The move is a humanitarian rescue effort, and also the obligation of China, as the DPRK’s neighbor and a responsible country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a news conference on Wednesday.
According to Lu, the reason behind the move is that the DPRK’s heavy vehicles transporting relief goods purchased from China have been unable to get through after strong rainfall caused by Typhoon Lionrock in August devastated hundreds of homes, leaving a large number of people homeless. The river marks part of the boundary between China, the DPRK and Russia.
Liu’s four-day visit, which began on Monday, has focused attention on whether Beijing is talking to the DPRK about its repeated nuclear tests and missile launches.
The trip is the first by a Chinese diplomat since the DPRK conducted a nuclear test in September.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday also dismissed remarks by US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that efforts to convince the DPRK to give up its nuclear program are a “lost cause”.
“I don’t know what Clapper’s
The move is a humanitarian rescue effort, and also the obligation of China ... as a responsible country.” Lu Kang, Foreign Ministry spokesman
comments are based on, but the fact is, it is the Six-Party Talks that made the DPRK decide to abandon all of its nuclear plans. ... On the contrary, it is during the suspension of the talks that it has repeatedly conducted nuclear tests,” Lu said.
China still believes that the Korean Peninsula issue can only be solved through dialogue.
Lu also said China encourages parties to the peninsula situation to engage in contact, consultation and dialogue, no matter in which form.
Wang Junsheng, an Asia-Pacific studies researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Liu’s visit has come at a time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula is delicate.
“The visit shows that the communications between Beijing and Pyongyang are still being maintained despite their differences of opinion, and the face-to-face meeting also provides an opportunity to manage and control possible crisis,” he said.
Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin (middle) and Hong Son Ok, a senior DPRK legislative official (right) read names of Chinese People’s Volunteers as they mark the 66th anniversary of their joining DPRK soldiers in the Korean War (1950-53).