N.Korea's Foreign Minister Meets Visiting Chinese Vice FM: State Media


(MENAFN- IANS) Seoul, Jan 27 (IANS) North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui has met with a visiting senior Chinese diplomat in Pyongyang, its state media reported on Saturday, as North Korea appears to be seeking to strengthen ties with Beijing amid its stepped-up cooperation with Russia.

On Friday, Choe met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong, who is visiting North Korea this week, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a brief statement as quoted By Yonhap news agency report.

Noting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between North Korea and China, the two sides agreed to "continue to strengthen tactical cooperation and keep pace with each other to defend the common core interests," the KCNA added.

The talks took place in "a comradely and friendly atmosphere," it added.

Their meeting came after Choe returned from her visit to Russia this week, during which she met with President Vladimir Putin and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in a show of deepening bilateral ties.

North Korea is stepping up military cooperation with Russia, while ratcheting up tensions with South Korea, which it has branded as an "invariable primary foe".

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been seeking to strengthen solidarity with China and Russia vis-a-vis the strengthening of security cooperation among South Korea, the US and Japan.

China is North Korea's traditional ally and key economic benefactor.

Sun's visit to Pyongyang is seen as a reciprocal trip after the North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Pak Myong-ho visited China last month.

Also present at Friday's meeting were Pak and Wang Yajun, Chinese ambassador to Pyongyang, the KCNA said.

Friday's meeting came one day after the Vice Foreign Ministers of the two countries held talks.

Pak and Sun had also "discussed the issues related to celebrating the 'year of North Korea-China friendship' and agreed to expand and develop the friendly exchange and practical cooperation between the two countries," the KCNA reported in a separate statement.

"They reaffirmed the importance of cooperation between the diplomatic fields of the two countries in dealing with various regional and international issues, including the situation in Northeast Asia," the report added.

--IANS

int/khz

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