SEOUL Feb 28 A senior North Korean diplomat
arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks in the first such
high-level visit since June last year, Japan's Kyodo news agency
reported, after China halted coal imports from the impoverished
nation under U.N. sanctions.
North Korea's main diplomatic ally said it would ban coal
imports about a week after the isolated country this month
tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile, for the first
time since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.
The North's Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil Song arrived by air
in the Chinese capital, Kyodo said, in the first such visit
since a June trip by Ri Su Yong, a member of the country's
ruling party politburo.
There was no indication of Ri's agenda, but he was expected
to hold talks with senior Chinese officials, Kyodo said.
The visit comes after North Korea issued a rare reproach of
China, saying it was "dancing to the tune" of the United States
for halting coal imports over the North's nuclear and missile
The move aimed to comply with U.N. sanctions imposed after
nuclear tests by the North, the latest in September.
In a Reuters interview, Trump said he welcomed China's ban,
but Beijing could solve the challenge posed by the North "very
easily if they want to," turning up pressure on China to do
China later dismissed the renewed pressure from Trump over
its role in North Korea, saying the crux of the matter was a
dispute between Washington and Pyongyang.
(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)