Last week South Korean President Moon Jae-in's attempts to engage with Pyongyang were set back with North Korea temporarily pulling out of an inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong.
The senior official at the North's State Affairs Commission had traveled to Singapore and Hanoi to prepare for summit meetings between Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump. -North Korea summit in Hanoi, many observers projected that Pyongyang would seek to further boost its friendly ties with China and Russian Federation in a bid to pressure the U.S.
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Biegun's visit to the Chinese capital overlaps with the arrival of a high-ranking North Korean, who was greeted by Chinese government officials and Pyongyang's envoy to Beijing on Tuesday, reported South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
The US special envoy for North Korea is visiting Beijing to coordinate policies with China, officials said Tuesday, a month after the failure of a denuclearisation summit.
Kim said North Korea has taken some action toward denuclearization but it was "insufficient", and the increased priority that North Korea is giving to its economic development should be used as leverage to encourage more progress on dismantling its weapons programs.
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Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged South Korea to cooperate more with the worldwide community to maintain sanctions on North Korea.
President Trump appeared to undermine his own administration Friday when he announced he was withdrawing new sanctions on North Korea.
"Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea's sanctions evasion", U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on his Twitter at the time.
About an hour before serving the dishes prepared by Smart's team, the North Koreans, who were "mysterious, but very professional", nibbled on the food to make sure it was safe, the chef said.
The North acts as a buffer state, keeping the 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea far from China's borders.