Beijing: A top North Korean diplomat is visiting Beijing in the wake of China’s ban on coal imports from its neighbor and the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s older half-brother in Malaysia. The foreign ministry said that Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil Song arrived today, but gave no details.
China last week began a suspension of all coal imports from North Korea for the rest of the year as it increases pressure on its once-close communist ally to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
China is North Korea’s largest source of trade and aid, and the move deprives Pyongyang of an important source of foreign currency. Beijing wants the US in return to restart long-stalled negotiations with the North to ease regional tensions.