February 03, 2016 10:12
China's representative to dormant six-party nuclear talks visited North Korea on Tuesday, the same day North Korea informed international agencies of its impending rocket launch.
The trip by Wu Dawei marks the first visit to Pyongyang by a foreign official since North Korea's nuclear test on Jan. 6.
Pundits believe Wu's aim is to persuade Pyongyang to abandon the plan.
Wu is expected to meet with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, Pyongyang's chief negotiator to the six-party talks, as well as Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan.
Prior to his visit, Wu met with the South Korean, Japanese and U.S. counterparts.
North Korea notified the International Maritime Organization that it will launch a satellite between Feb. 8 and 25. The launch is widely seen as a veiled test of intercontinental ballistic missile technology.
Diplomatic sources say Wu's primary mission is to stop North Korea from pushing ahead with the launch "If North Korea challenges UN Security Council sanctions with a missile launch after the nuclear test, China will find itself in an extremely difficult position," one said. "North Korea is aware of this and will attempt to win Chinese concessions by flashing the missile card."
The government here does not expect Wu to succeed. "There is nothing Wu can realistically achieve at this point," an official said.
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