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VK Singh to visit North Korea for peace talks

VK Singh to visit North Korea for peace talks

India, which maintained minimal diplomatic relations with the DPRK despite pressure from Washington to close its mission in Pyongyang and cut trade ties, also used the fragile improvement in North Korea's ties with the United States to explore possibilities of cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and promotion of yoga and traditional medicines.

In the first ministerial visit from India to North Korea in almost 20 years, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh held talks with his North Korean counterpart and a host of other leaders. The Indian outreach took advantage of the unprecedented events in the Korean peninsula and between the USA and North Korea that has not only relaxed sanctions but promises a unique opening between the two sides.

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".

Gotsurve, who is one of the senior-most IFS officers to be posted to North Korea by India, presented his credentials to Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK on Monday.

White House National Security Advisor John Bolton has repeatedly said there should be no guarantee of benefits to the North until the communist state completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantles its nuclear program.

Background: India is particularly concerned with North Korea and Pakistan's history of transferring nuclear and missile technology. In April, India had banned all trade with North Korea, except for food and medicines. New Delhi rejected the then U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson's request to shut down its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang.

India and North Korea also made a decision to explore possibilities of cooperation in areas of mutual interest including vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, promotion of Yoga and traditional medicines.

"The DPRK side provided an overview of some of the recent developments in the Korean Peninsula", the foreign ministry statement said, using the acronym of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The two leaders also agreed on enhancing people-to-people relations in the field of education and culture.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday urged Pyongyang to signal its willingness to give up its nuclear arsenal after its leader Kim Jong-Un threatened to call off a highly anticipated and unprecedented summit with American president Donald Trump set for next month.

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