Xi Jinping meets with North Korean officials in Beijing

Trump sees chance of breakthrough in meeting with Kim Bolton

VK Singh is first Indian minister to visit North Korea in 20 years even as Pyongyang reconsiders meeting US on June 12

"The North Korean side emphasised that as a friendly country, it will never allow any action that would create concerns for India's security", the statement said. India has been alleging Pakistan's AQ Khan's role in helping North Korea develop its nuclear programme. The meeting comes soon after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited North Korea for preparatory talks ahead of the Trump-Kim Summit. India has time and again condemned North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

DPRK ministers also gave Singh an overview of some of the recent developments in the Korean Peninsula.

"If the U.S.is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and can not but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit", Kim Kye Gwan said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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The pleasantries exchanged are a sign of progress, more so given the MEA's condemnation of North Korea's launch of a nuclear missile in July previous year.

In its report of the delegation's trip to China, the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English report:"Welcoming the friendship group's visit to China, Xi Jinping said that China is attaching very importance to the work to propel the traditional friendship between the two countries sealed in blood to a higher stage as required by the new era".

As per a release by the Ministry of External Affairs, Singh arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday for a two-day visit to hold bilateral talks on the entire gamut of bilateral relations with his North Korean counterpart and various other high-level officials.

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The MEA statament said the minister, who visted the country at their invitation, held discussions with senior leaders including vice-president of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Dae, foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, minister of culture, Pak Chun Nam and vice- foreign minister Choe Hui Cholon a range of issues covering political, regional, economic, educational and cultural cooperation.

North Korean officials also discussed the recent peace initiatives with South Korea and the proposed talks with the United States.

China's foreign minister says the United States should seek the middle ground in negotiations with North Korea for achieving a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

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The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met President Xi of China in the coastal city of Dalian this month in what is being seen as an effort to strengthen relations between the neighbouring countries. The two sides agreed to collaborate in a number of spheres, including education, medicine, agriculture and the promotion of cultural practices like yoga.

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