North Korea’s KCNA information company on Wednesday confirmed Mr. Song’s journey, a sign that after month’s of rebuffing Chinese makes an attempt to ship envoys to Pyongyang, the federal government of North Korea’s chief, Kim Jong-un, had agreed to Mr. Song’s go to.
But expectations had been muted about whether or not the go to might transfer Mr. Kim to barter.
There was not even a assure that Mr. Song would see Mr. Kim in particular person, mentioned Yang Xiyu, a Chinese diplomat who led the so-called six-party talks with North Korea greater than a decade in the past. He famous that it was most certainly that the North Korean chief would solely be keen to barter after conducting one other missile take a look at of the sort that has shaken the world this yr.
“I am afraid that Kim will do something more terrible and will come to the negotiating table only after a big intercontinental ballistic missile test,” Mr. Yang mentioned. “Then Kim will talk from a position of power.”
The final senior Chinese official to go to North Korea, Liu Yunshan, then a member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party, appeared with Mr. Kim on the reviewing stand at a army parade in Pyongyang in October 2015. Mr. Liu made no headway then in curbing the North’s nuclear weapons enlargement, and he retired final month. Mr. Song accompanied Mr. Liu and met the North Korean chief on that journey.
A lull in nuclear exams by North Korea since September has led to hypothesis, notably in South Korea, that the North could also be open to negotiations. But Chinese officers have been cautious to not publicly encourage such assumptions.
Briefings to North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party after China celebration congresses — held each 5 years — are routine.
The celebration officers who went to Pyongyang 5 and 10 years in the past had been of extra senior rank than Mr. Song, although clearly this time Mr. Song’s mission is broader than a mere tally of final month’s proceedings, Mr. Yang mentioned.
Now that Mr. Xi is firmly in place for his second time period he’ll flip his hand to North Korea, Chinese consultants mentioned, partly to maintain good relations with the United States.
If nothing else, Mr. Song ought to return with a studying of Mr. Kim’s intentions, Professor Cheng mentioned.
“All the news commentaries from North Korea say North Korea will not negotiate,” he mentioned. “If that’s the real intention, then China can make decisions. To get clear unambiguous information is the most important.”
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