New Delhi: After the rapproachment between North and South Korea and the stage set for a Summit between the United States and North Korea, India has resumed ministerial-level visits from its side to North Korea after a gap of nearly 20 years.
Minister of state for external affairs Gen. (retd.) V.K. Singh already began a crucial two-day visit to North Korea on Tuesday. The ministry of external affairs (MEA), in a statement from New Delhi, said the “MoS highlighted the threat from nuclear proliferation, in particular India’s concerns in the context of the proliferation linkages with India’s neighbourhood.”
The reference seemed to be to reports for the past more than two decades of alleged clandestine nuclear and missile technology links between North Korea and Pakistan.
But in a major move, North Korea has assured India that “as a friendly country DPRK (N. Korea) will never allow any action that would create concerns for India’s security.” The North Koreans also briefed Gen. Singh about the recent developments in the Korean peninsula including the peace talks between the two Koreas.
It may be recalled that in October last year, India had made it clear that it will not shut its embassy in North Korea, telling the US it must have some friendly countries that have embassies in Pyongyang so that “communication channels are open”. India had said that its trade with North Korea was in any case “minimal” and that it has a “small” embassy in Pyongyang.
The last high-level contact between the two countries was three years ago in April, 2015, when the North Korean foreign minister visited New Delhi.
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.