Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs General VK Singh is on a two-day visit to North Korea (DPRK), making him the first Indian minister in two decades to visit the nation.
Singh, who flew to Pyongyang from China unannounced, is the first minister after Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to visit the country. Naqvi visited North Korea in September 1998 as the then MoS for Information & Broadcasting.
According to The Tribune, MoS Singh landed in Pyongyang on Wednesday, 15 May, and held discussions with Kim Yong Dae, Vice-President of Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Minister of Culture Pak Chun Nam and Choe Hui Chol, Vice Foreign Minister of DPRK.
Singh reportedly encouraged the two Koreas “for their efforts towards establishment of peace and prosperity” on the Peninsula.
According to a statement by the MEA, Singh also highlighted the threat from nuclear proliferation, in particular, India’s concerns in the context of the proliferation linkages with India’s neighbourhood, reported News18.
"MoS reiterated India’s support to the joint peace initiative of DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and Republic of Korea (ROK) leadership, encouraging both sides for their efforts towards establishment of peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. MoS highlighted the threat from nuclear proliferation, in particular, India’s concerns in the context of the proliferation linkages with India’s neighbourhood. The DPRK side emphasised that as a friendly country DPRK will never allow any action that would create concerns for India’s security," said an MEA statement, as quoted by News18.
Singh’s visit comes amidst North Korea’s threat to abandon planned talks between Kim Jong-Un and US President Donald Trump in June if Washington insists on pushing it “into a corner” on nuclear disarmament.
A statement published by the state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said North Korea would never accept economic assistance from the US in exchange for unilaterally abandoning its nuclear programme.
(With inputs from PTI, The Tribune and News18)
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