North Korean offering cheap coal on hopes sanctions

Singh met a delegation including Kim Yong Dae, Vice President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Minister of Culture Pak Chun Nam and North Korea Vice Foreign Minister Choe Hui Chol. An MEA statement on the visit claimed that the DPRK had assured India that as a friendly country, it would never allow any action that would create concerns for India's security.

Junior external affairs minister V.K. Singh is on a two-day trip to North Korea in what is the first ministerial visit from India to the DPRK since 1998.

Ties between North Korea and China are showing signs of improvement after going through a tough patch for several years caused by the North's defiant advancement of its nuclear and missile programs.

In 1997-99, the Republic of Korea (ROK; South Korea), the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK; North Korea), the United States and China held conversations many times to discuss setting up a permanent mechanism to peacefully address the peninsula issue.

Municipal and provincial party chiefs from North Korea who visited China this week said openly they were there to learn from China's new open economy.

The statements, combined with joint military drills by South Korean and USA warplanes, mark a dramatic reversal in tone from recent months when both sides embraced efforts to negotiate.


The visit followed the presentation of credentials by the new Indian Ambassador, Atul Gotsurve, indicating that Mr. Singh's meetings had been fixed quite recently. He also highlighted the threat from nuclear proliferation, in particular India's concerns in the context of proliferation linkages with the country's neighbourhood. He is expected to hold talks with his North Korean counterpart but a meeting with leader Kim Jong-un is not confirmed as yet. The visit by Mr. Singh, and the secrecy surrounding it, suggest that India is trying to quietly rebuild ties with the reclusive regime, ostracised by most of the world for its defiance of UN Security Council norms on nuclear weapons.

In March 2017, the government even issued a gazette notification instituting restrictions on any trade with North Korea other than in food and medicines.

The pleasantries exchanged are a sign of progress, more so given the MEA's condemnation of North Korea's launch of a nuclear missile in July a year ago.

The two sides also chose to explore further ties in vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, yoga and traditional medicines to mark 45 years of diplomatic relations.

"Both sides agreed to strengthen people-to-people contacts through educational and cultural exchange, to mark 45 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries".


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