Published: Fri, November 17, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Xi's Special Envoy to Visit N.Korea

Xi's Special Envoy to Visit N.Korea

Trump's Asia trip came amid heightened tensions over North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental US The trip, which also included stops in Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, had been billed as a push to step up worldwide pressure on North Korea and reduce US trade deficits with the region.

During his Asia trip, while Trump maintained absolute United States opposition to North Korea's nuclear program and the threat of heavy retaliation for any actions against the U.S. or its allies, he did appear to raise the possibility of future talks with Pyongyang.

A senior Chinese diplomat will travel to North Korea on Friday as a "special envoy" of Chinese president Xi Jinping amid growing pressure on Pyongyang to curtail its nuclear and missile program.

Trump characterised that endeavour as "tremendously successful", a description disputed by analysts who said little progress had been made on containing North Korea's nuclear program.

It is also unclear whether Song will meet North Korea's youthful leader Kim Jong Un.

There are concerns in South Korea that any potential U.S. strikes against North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes could provoke devastating North Korean retaliation against South Korea.

"He will be forced to pay dearly for his blasphemy", the Rodong Sinmun wrote, further asserting, "The Korean people will regard the face of Trump as a symbol of wolf-like USA imperialism and as a target of merciless retaliation".

Rodong Sinmun is the official newspaper of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, and the commentary was also published by state news agency KCNA.

Still, some critics said Mr Trump fell short of offering a concrete solution to the nuclear stalemate.

It's quite possible Xi wants to explore new relations with North Korea as he starts his second term in office. Song would be the first ministerial-level Chinese official to visit North Korea since October 2015.

"This is a chance to see if he can open things up", he said.

North Korea has not carried out any new tests since September 15, when it launched an intermediate-range missile that flew over Japan.

Since then, there has been a lull in such activity, leading to some hopes in Beijing that Pyongyang might be responding to worldwide pressure and becoming more amenable to talks.

While in Seoul on November 7 and 8, Trump also visited Camp Humphreys, a major U.S. military base south of Seoul, before holding summit talks with President Moon Jae-in. In a speech to South Korean lawmakers in Seoul, he denounced the North's "cruel dictatorship".

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