North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s special envoy told a top Chinese defence official Friday that his country wants to solve problems on the Korean peninsula through dialogue, Beijing’s state media said.
The comments by Kim’s emissary Choe Ryong-Hae were reported by the official Xinhua news agency and came a day after Chinese state television quoted him as saying Pyongyang wants peace and is willing to engage in talks.
The North engaged in months of sabre-rattling after the United Nations strengthened sanctions against it following am atomic test in February, its rhetoric at times reaching fever pitch with threats of nuclear war.
Analysts see Beijing, Pyongyang’s sole major ally and key economic benefactor, as having the most influence over it, but relations have deteriorated with China backing the UN move.
Choe, a vice marshal and director of the Korean People’s Army’s General Political Bureau, is said to be a close confidant of Kim, who has led North Korea for more than a year.
At Friday’s meeting with Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’s powerful Central Military Commission, Choe said Pyongyang was willing to work with all parties to solve problems through dialogue, Xinhua said.
But he also mentioned that peace on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia was not guaranteed, the report said, an apparent reference to the lack of a peace treaty ending the 1950-53 Korean War, which concluded with an armistice.
The United States and South Korea say dialogue with the North depends on it ceasing its provocations and taking steps towards implementing prior agreements to scrap its nuclear programme.
Those countries, along with China, Russia and Japan have worked since 2003 to persuade the North to abandon atomic development in exchange for aid and security guarantees but the process, known as the six-party talks, has been stalled for years.
Fan, meanwhile, told Choe that in recent years tensions on the peninsula around the nuclear issue had intensified conflicts among the parties and jeopardised peace and stability, Xinhua said.
On Thursday, Choe told Liu Yunshan, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s highest-ranking body, the Politburo Standing Committee, that the North was willing to accept Beijing’s proposals to develop dialogue with other parties.
Earlier this year, North Korea threatened to launch nuclear missiles towards the United States and its state media outlets engaged in furious criticisms of rival South Korea, before it shut a landmark joint industrial facility.