Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has offered encouragement for South Korea’s initiative to nurture peaceful engagement with North Korea and Russia has also expressed support, the South Korean official leading diplomatic efforts said yesterday.
Over the past week, South Korean National Security Office Director Chung Eui-yong briefed officials in Beijing and Moscow following his dramatic success in arranging summits between the North Korean, South Korean and US leaders.
“Xi Jinping offered a Chinese phrase that says: ‘Once hard ice melts, spring comes and flowers bloom’ to describe the situation on the Korean Peninsula and expressed his willingness to support the current situation,” Chung told reporters on his return to Incheon International Airport.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told the South Korean delegation led by Chung that he was open to addressing denuclearization with the US, an offer that led to US President Donald Trump agreeing to meet Kim for a summit expected to be held sometime in May.
There was growing speculation yesterday that Trump and Kim will meet in Sweden, after the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs announced that North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho would be traveling to Sweden for two days of talks with Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom.
Sweden’s embassy in Pyongyang represents US diplomatic interests in North Korea in the absence of US diplomatic relations with the country.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to hold a summit with Kim by the end of next month.
The South’s preparation committee for the inter-Korean summit, led by South Korean Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-seok, is to hold its first official meeting today, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a briefing.
The committee is comprised of presidential and government officials, including the ministers of unification, foreign affairs and defense, Kim Eui-kyeom said.
Separately, a South Korean official said it was too early to discuss joint economic projects with Pyongyang.
The official said Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) would visit Seoul on Tuesday next week for talks with South Korean security officials.
The flurry of diplomatic activity comes after a year-long verbal spat between Kim Jong-un and Trump, with tensions exacerbated by multiple missile and nuclear tests by the North, which has said it will forge on with its nuclear program to protect its regime.
“China and Russia agreed to continue cooperation to uphold the peace that has been created, as well as the momentum for stability through close communication,” Chung said.
North Korea has friendly ties with both Beijing and Moscow, and China is by far its biggest trading partner.
Pyongyang has remained silent about its agreement for the summits since Chung returned from the North, although officials in Seoul have said they expect to continue talks soon to work out details for the inter-Korean summit.
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),