VK Singh holds talks in North Korea, first trip in 20 years

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Junior foreign minister V.K. Singh, who began the two-day visit to North Korea on Tuesday, reiterated New Delhi's support for peace initiatives on the peninsula, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Singh went to North Korea via China and his presence there arrives just ahead of a probable meeting between Kim and United States of America President Donald Trump.

A key issue that India flagged pertained to the threat from nuclear proliferation and its linkages with Pakistan's, especially considering the role played by India's neighbour in developing the DPRK's nuclear programme.

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Analysts say Mr. Singh's visit, which the Indian press said came at the invitation of the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, is a significant gesture to improve ties, and perhaps get a jump on rivals if the current negotiations involving the U.S., North and South Korea lead to a major opening of the North's isolated economy.

DPRK ministers also gave Singh an overview of some of the recent developments in the Korean Peninsula.

"The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) side emphasized that as a friendly country DPRK will never allow any action that would create concerns for India's security", the statement added. The Indian outreach took advantage of the unprecedented events in the Korean peninsula and between the U.S. and North Korea that has not only relaxed sanctions but promises a unique opening between the two sides.

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The visit followed the presentation of credentials by the new Indian Ambassador, Atul Gotsurve, indicating that Mr. Singh's meetings had been fixed quite recently.

Singh met a delegation including Kim Yong Dae, Vice President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Minister of Culture Pak Chun Nam and North Korea Vice Foreign Minister Choe Hui Chol. India and Pakistan are fierce rivals.

Mr Trump told reporters in the Oval Office shortly after Pyongyang's warning the USA would have to "wait and see" when asked whether the summit was still on, but stressed that he would not back down from his request for North Korea to denuclearise. New Delhi rejected the then U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson's request to shut down its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang. In April, India had banned all trade with North Korea, except for food and medicines.

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Kim particularly criticised US national security adviser John Bolton, who has called for North Korea in order to give up its nuclear arsenal in a deal that mirrors Libya's desertion of its weapons because of the mass destruction.

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