Seoul envoy in China for talks on North Korea developments

Four days after the surprise announcement that President Trump has agreed to meet the North’s Kim Jong Un by May Washington has yet to hear directly from Pyongyang on the invitation extended by Kim via South Korean intermediaries

Seoul envoy in China for talks on North Korea developments

"China commits itself to the efforts of realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula and resolving things through dialogue and negotiations", Yang said.

The South Korean officials who carried Kim's invitation to Washington are visiting China and Japan this week to update state heads on the talks.

South Korea's national security director on Monday praised the role of Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration in nudging North Korea toward denuclearization talks, following word of a possible summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un.

Just days after he stood outside the White House and announced the planned meet between the USA president and the North Korean leader, Chung Eui-yong was in Beijing to brief Xi and China's top diplomats on the fast-moving efforts to address the nuclear standoff.

Trump agreed to meet with Kim Jong Un by the end of May and the two Koreas will hold a summit by end-April.

Renmin University Korean affairs specialist Cheng Xiaohe said Chung's visit to Beijing could be "a very good opportunity" for Beijing to understand what Pyongyang needed for a commitment to abandon its weapons programme.

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Speaking after meeting Suh, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono credited recent changes in North Korea's position to increased pressure by worldwide society.

Xi said Chung had achieved "positive results" in his visits to North Korea and the United States last week, which led to the diplomatic breakthrough.

Cheng also said that while Beijing's role in the leaders' summits may be limited, "it's hard for North Korea to ignore China as China remains its neighbour and a country with veto power at the United Nations Security Council".

"China's faithful implementation helped make the Security Council's resolution effective", Cheng wrote, citing a 52 per cent decline in trade with South Korea in January against the year before that required "significant sacrifice" on China's part.

Trump has spoken with both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since Thursday's announcement, and said Xi "appreciates that the working to solve the problem diplomatically rather than going with the ominous alternative".

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