Indian minister holds talks in North Korea, first trip in 20 years

Indian minister holds talks in North Korea, first trip in 20 years

Indian minister holds talks in North Korea, first trip in 20 years

"During the visit, the MoS held discussions with Mr Kim Yong Dae, vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Mr Ri Yong Ho, foreign minister, Mr Pak Chun Nam, minister of culture and Mr Choe Hui Chol, vice foreign minister of DPRK on a range of issues covering political, regional, economic, educational and cultural cooperation between the two countries".

The development comes at a time when North Korea has criticised the US approach towards Pyongyang, and has lashed out at the US-South Korean military exercises.

The move was actually precipitated by India's concern over Pakistan's supposed access to North Korea's missile technology, strategically phrased as "proliferation linkages in India's neighbourhood".

Xinhua added the North Korean delegation wanted to learn from China's experience regarding economic development, and continue implementing the strategies agreed upon by Xi and Kim in their recent meetings.

Despite North Korea being osctracised by most of the world for its defiance of UNSC norms on nuclear proliferation, India has maintained diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.

"It should be stressed that it had taken much effort to achieve a minor improvement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula". This is the first ministerial-level visit from India to DPRK after nearly 20 years. We hope that such engagement will help in reducing tension and pave the way for lasting peace and reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula.

After Kim announced that he will relinquish his nuclear programme and offered to hold talks with US President Donald Trump, scheduled in June, Pyongyang on Wednesday also threatened to abandon the talks if Washington continued to insist on pushing it "into a corner" on nuclear disarmament.

"If the U.S.is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and can not but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit", Kim Kye Gwan said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In the last few years, especially since Trump administration came to office, New Delhi had played along with Washington on the sanctions imposed on North Korea.

In what could indicate more trade and interaction now between the two countries, the MEA said, "The two sides made a decision to explore possibilities of cooperation in the areas of mutual interest, including vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, promotion of yoga and traditional medicines". India established diplomatic relations with the North 45 years ago and has a small embassy there, but in recent years it halted trade and aid as the United States stepped up global pressure to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programmes.

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