Newspaper article International New York Times

Top Official from North Korea Makes Beijing Visit ; Trip Said to Involve Talks over Recent Congress Comes amid Missile Test

Newspaper article International New York Times

Top Official from North Korea Makes Beijing Visit ; Trip Said to Involve Talks over Recent Congress Comes amid Missile Test

Article excerpt

Ri Su-yong, who was recently promoted to the Politburo in North Korea, is said to want to discuss the recent congress of the Workers' Party.

A senior North Korean official arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks between his country and China, whose ties are formally close but have eroded recently because of the North's nuclear weapons program.

On Tuesday morning, North Korea tried unsuccessfully to fire an intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, the fourth failed attempt in two months, according to the Yonhap news agency in South Korea.

Ri Su-yong, a former North Korean foreign minister who was recently promoted to the Politburo, came to discuss the recent congress in Pyongyang of the Workers' Party, said a former senior Chinese official familiar with North Korea as well as with the visit. The official declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

The Japanese news agency Kyodo reported that Mr. Ri had arrived in Beijing on Tuesday morning and that his motorcade had made its way to the compound of the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, in the city center.

The International Liaison Department of the Communist Party in Beijing said that Mr. Ri had met with Song Tao, who leads the department.

The Workers' Party congress, in early May, sought to cement the power of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, with whom Mr. Ri is considered close. Mr. Ri was North Korea's ambassador to Switzerland at the time Mr. Kim attended a boarding school there, North Korea experts have said.

Mr. Ri's visit continued efforts by Mr. Kim to court China, the North's main trading partner and benefactor, as the country feels the effects of United Nations sanctions. In recent days, Mr. Kim appeared at a basketball game in the capital featuring a Chinese team.

Still, China has been frustrated enough by the North's continued testing of nuclear weapons and launchings of missiles that it agreed to the international sanctions in March, and Beijing seemed unlikely to offer substantial support to the North during Mr. …

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