China Has Few Words for Meeting with N.Korea

Strained relations between China and North Korea following the North's third nuclear test last year are now clearly manifest on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The news section of the website prominently featured Foreign Minister Wang Yi's meetings with 17 of his foreign counterparts on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Burma. But mention of Wang's meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong is notably brief at only 72 words, in contrast to an average of 330 words for the other 16.

It merely says that the two officials "exchanged opinions on issues of mutual interest" without going into detail.

Wang's meeting with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry gets 564 words, Indonesia 505, South Korea 461, Vietnam 430, India 394 and Australia 369. Even Brunei (336) and Bangladesh (276) get more space than Ri.

The second shortest entry is about is Wang's meeting with his counterpart from Japan, which merits a chilly 108 words amid icy relations between the two countries over Japanese wartime atrocities and territorial disputes.

A diplomatic source said, "It's probably not a coincidence that the description of the meeting between the two foreign ministers is so short and seems to reflect the sentiments of China's Foreign Ministry."

The official [North] Korean Central News Agency on Monday made no mention at all of Ri's meeting with Wang.

North Korea has also sent no message of condolence after more than a week since a devastating earthquake wreaked havoc on China's Yunnan Province.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 13, 2014 11:53 KST