Fol­low­ing Trump visit, China send­ing en­voy to North Korea

Manteca Bulletin - - Nation -

BEI­JING (AP) — Fol­low­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s visit to Bei­jing, China said Wed­nes­day it is send­ing a high-level spe­cial en­voy to North Korea amid an ex­tended chill in re­la­tions be­tween the neigh­bors over Py­ongyang’s nu­clear weapons and mis­sile pro­grams.

Song Tao, the head of China’s rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party’s In­ter­na­tional Li­ai­son De­part­ment, will travel to Py­ongyang on Fri­day to re­port on out­comes of the party’s na­tional congress held last month, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency said.

Xin­hua made no men­tion of Trump’s visit or the North’s weapons pro­grams, al­though Trump has re­peat­edly called on Bei­jing to do more to use its in­flu­ence to pres­sure Py­ongyang into al­ter­ing its be­hav­ior.

Song would be the first min­is­te­rial- level Chi­nese of­fi­cial to visit North Korea since Oc­to­ber 2015 when Polit­buro Stand­ing Com­mit­tee mem­ber Liu Yun­shan vis­ited Py­ongyang and met with leader Kim Jong Un. Liu de­liv­ered a let­ter to Kim from Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping (shee jihn-peeng) ex­press­ing hopes for a strong re­la­tion­ship, al­though the respite in frosty ties proved short lived. Vice For­eign Min­is­ter Liu Zhen­min vis­ited Py­ongyang in Oc­to­ber of last year.

China’s Com­mu­nist Party and North Korea’s rul­ing Worker’s Party have long­stand­ing ties that of­ten su­per­sede for­mal diplo­macy, even while Bei­jing has long been frus­trated with Py­ongyang’s provo­ca­tions and un­will­ing­ness to re­form its econ­omy.

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