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By Sheetal Sukhija | Wednesday November 15, 2017
Chinese envoy’s visit to North Korea shrouded in mystery
Days after U.S. President Donald Trump visited Beijing, China has now announced that it would be sending a high-level special envoy to North Korea. The announcement comes amid an extended chill in relations between the neighbors over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs. China, which continues to remain North Korea’s only regional ally, its largest trading partner and chief source of food and fuel aid, has said that Song Tao, the head of China's ruling Communist Party's International Department, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday. While a large part of Tao’s itinerary or planned meetings remains shrouded in mystery, the country has revealed that the main agenda of his visit will be to report on outcomes of the party's national congress held last month. Further, China’s official Xinhua News Agency has said that Song, as president and party leader Xi Jinping's special envoy, would carry out a "visit" in addition to delivering his report. The report quoting officials did not make any mention of Trump's trip to Beijing or the North's weapons programs, even though Trump has repeatedly called on Beijing to do more to use its influence to pressure Pyongyang into altering its behavior. When questioned, Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang downplayed any connection between Song's trip and Trump's visit...Read more