May 28, 2013 09:39
Senior Chinese official and roaming regional ambassador Wang Jiarui recently described his country's ties with North Korea as merely "normal relations between states," a lawmaker here said Monday.
Yoo Ki-june of the Saenuri Party's Supreme Council was speaking after he led a group of 10 ruling and opposition lawmakers on a visit to China last week.
Yoo told Saenuri leaders that the group met senior Chinese officials like Wang, the director of the Communist Party's International Department, and Chongqing party secretary Sun Zhengcai, who handle Korean affairs. "In my meetings with them, I sensed a lot of change in Chinese diplomacy toward North Korea," Yoo said.
Yoo later told the Chosun lbo, "Wang called Beijing-Pyongyang ties 'normal relations between states' while explaining his country's relations with North Korea since the North's third nuclear test. He implied that Pyongyang is so recalcitrant that it's hard for Beijing to influence it."
"In the past, China tried to defend the North even if it had made mistakes, but this time all Chinese officials we met openly complained about the North," Yoo added.
In a separate telephone interview, Democratic Party lawmaker Ahn Gyu-baek, who was also part of the group, also said, "When we met Wang, I urged China to play a leading role in persuading the North to return to the six-party nuclear talks. But he said that the U.S. and South Korea rather than China are key to the role. It sounded as if there was some change" in China's relations with the North.
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