North Korea says it wants better ties with South
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says his country seeks better ties with the neighboring South to protect peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, which has been locked in a circle of military rhetoric over the past years.
Kim made the comments in a meeting with visiting Chinese envoy Liu Yunshan in Pyongyang, Xinhua, the official news agency of China, reported on Saturday.
North Korea needs “a peaceful and stable external environment as it is striving to develop (its) economy and improve people’s livelihood,” Kim said, adding Pyongyang “is willing to make efforts to improve relations between the north and the south and safeguard the stability of the peninsula.”
The Korean Peninsula has witnessed tension since the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953 and ended in an armistice. No peace deal has been signed since then, meaning that Pyongyang and Seoul remain technically at war.
Kim further said Liu’s visit will “play an important role in the development of bilateral ties,” expressing hope that China will “maintain close high-level exchanges and strengthen pragmatic cooperation in various fields.”
For his part, Liu said that preserving stability and peace in the volatile Korean Peninsula is in the interest of all sides, and that Beijing was “willing to work with the DPRK (North Korea) to strive for early resumption of the six-party talks on the nuclear issue.”
The six-party negotiations, which included Russia, China, the United States, Japan, South Korea and North Korea, aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, stalled in April 2009 after the United Nations imposed tougher sanctions on Pyongyang for conducting nuclear and missile tests.
The diplomatic meeting between Kim and Liu came ahead of a massive military parade in Pyongyang on Saturday that will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party.