Cooperation appears to be tightening between North Korea, China, and Russia
US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has received an invitation from Moscow to visit, US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats was quoted as saying by Russia’s TASS news agency. Cooperation among the members of one of the Korean Peninsula’s key axes – North Korea, China, and Russia – is tightening with simultaneous Russia visits by China’s diplomatic and defense leaders and successive visits to China and Russia by North Korea’s Foreign Minister.
“We know that [Kim] went to China to hold talks with [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping]. We know that there is an invitation to go to Russia,” Coats was quoted by TASS as telling reporters in Washington on Apr. 4.
Visiting Russia as a special envoy for Xi, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met individually for talks with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Apr. 5 to discuss an upcoming China visit by Putin and also affairs on the Korean Peninsula, TASS reported. Putin is expected to meet with Xi while visiting China in June to attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao.
Also visiting Russia was Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, who met on Apr. 3 with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu and attended the Moscow Conference on International Security on Apr. 4. On his choice of Russia as his first overseas destination since taking office on Apr. 3, Wei said it was intended “so that the Americans will understand the close relationship between the Chinese and Russian militaries.”
Beijing and Moscow are also broadening their connections with Pyongyang. The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Apr. 4 that North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho was expected to visit Russia on Apr. 9–11 for a foreign ministers’ meeting. Last month, Kim Jong-un visited China first for a summit with Xi ahead of a planned inter-Korean summit late this month and a possible North Korea-US summit next month.
By Kim Oi-hyun, Beijing correspondent
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