Following President Trump’s visit to Beijing, China announced Wednesday that it would send a special envoy to North Korea to help quell the tense standoff between Pyongyang and Washington.
The purpose of the visit, according to Politico, is for the envoy to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons endeavors—a move that President Trump pressured China to enforced on its volatile neighbor.
The envoy, Song Tao, is the head of China’s ruling Communist Party’s International Department. He is scheduled to arrive in Pyongyang on Friday. The purpose of the visit, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, is for Song to report on the outcomes of the party’s national congress that was held last month.
Xinhua did not disclose what exactly would be included in Song’s itinerary, in addition to delivering his report. The news agency made no mention of Trump’s visit to Beijing, although Trump has repeatedly called on Beijing to use its influence to stop North Korea from advancing its nuclear capabilities.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang downplayed Song’s visit and any connection it might have to Trump’s visit to Beijing, saying that it was “common practice” for the Communist Party and North Korea’s ruling Workers’ party to exchange views.
“The purpose of this visit is to brief about the party congress and exchange views of common interest and bilateral interest,” Geng said at a regularly scheduled briefing.
Hope that Song’s visit to North Korea will ease the extreme tensions experienced on the Korean peninsula is not assured, since China is repeatedly downplaying the chances of a breakthrough in reaching the North Koreans.
China may not want to rile North Korea, since it is North Korea’s largest trading partner, providing food and fuel aid, and is not keen on any measure that would bring down Kim Jong Un’s regime, which now serves as a buffer between China and South Korea, which currently stations 30,000 U.S. troops on its border with North Korea.
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