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

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The security council also urged North Korea to abide by the agreements reached between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their summit last month, where they agreed to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.

An official statement from the ministry of external affairs said the assurance came during minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh's two-day visit to North Korea starting Wednesday. "Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links pose a grave threat to global peace and stability", a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs had said previous year when North Korea had launched its worldwide Ballistic Missile.

The veiled reference seemed to allude to media reports for the past more than two decades of alleged clandestine nuclear and missile technology links between North Korea and Pakistan. An MEA statement on the visit claimed that the DPRK had assured India that as a friendly country, it would never allow any action that would create concerns for India's security.

Singh's reiteration of India's stand favouring the peace initiative came hours after Pyongyang cancelled a high-level meeting with Seoul - scheduled for Wednesday - in protest against a joint military drill by the US and South Korea, calling it a provocation and a preparation for an invasion.

"The members of the standing committee has chose to closely coordinate the positions through various channels between the ROK and the U.S.as well as the South and the North so that upcoming North Korea-U.S. summit can be proceeded successfully based on the spirit of mutual respect", the Blue House said in a statement following the meeting.

Singh's visit is the first ministerial level visit from India to North Korea after a gap of nearly 20 years, it said.

Confirming the visit, the External Affairs Ministry said Singh had held discussions with Kim Yong Dae, Vice-President of the Supreme People's Assembly, Ri Yong Ho, foreign minister and other North Korean leaders on a range of issues, including bilateral cooperation in political, regional, economic, education and cultural fields.

It may be recalled that in October a year ago, India had made it clear that it would not shut its embassy in North Korea.

"The two sides made a decision to explore possibilities of cooperation in areas of mutual interest including vocational education, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, promotion of yoga and traditional medicines", it stated.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told the parliament that North Korea and the USA had differences of opinion over how to achieve denuclearisation.

Mr Pak was accompanied by senior party officials representing major provinces and cities of North Korea, reported Yonhap news agency.