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Kim Jong Un pledges denuclearisation during China visit

Gorkha Post

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BEIJING — North Korea’s Kim Jong Un made his first-ever foreign trip as leader to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said Wednesday.

China has confirmed leader Kim Jong-un has visited Beijing, and says it won a pledge from him to work towards denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.

During the visit from Sunday to Wednesday which came at the invitation of Xi, Kim held talks with the Chinese president who hosted a banquet to welcome the North Korean leader and his wife Ri Sol Ju, Xinhua said.

“I have had successful talks with General Secretary Xi Jinping on developing relations between the two parties and the two countries, our respective domestic situation, maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and other issues,” Kim said at the banquet.

The North Korean leader further termed the China visit his “solemn duty”. He also said that his country is committed to denuclearisation.

Beijing has traditionally been the closest ally of secretive North Korea, but ties have been frayed by the North’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing of tough UN sanctions in response.

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But, relations between China and North Korea had soured as Beijing has backed tough United Nations sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its missile and nuclear tests.

Xinhua said Mr Kim told Mr Xi that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tensions and put forward proposals for peace talks.

“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearisation on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il-sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong-il,” Kim Jong-un said, according to Xinhua.

Analysts had earlier suggested Beijing had been sidelined by Pyongyang’s approaches to Seoul and Washington, but Kim’s visit puts China firmly back at the centre of the diplomatic scrum.

“Both Comrade Chairman and I have personally experienced and witnessed the development of China-DPRK relationship,” Xi said, using the initials for North Korea’s official name.

AFP/Reuters

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Thai authorities launch search for youth soccer team trapped in cave

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BANGKOK — Search and rescue teams on Sunday are looking for a dozen members of a youth soccer team who are missing since late Saturday afternoon, believed to be trapped in a cave in northern Thailand.

Police said local authorities, police and rescue workers were working with divers to find the 12 boys, aged 11-15, and their coach, who are believed to have entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province.

The group were apparently trapped when a heavy storm flooded a stream at the cave’s entrance.

Police Colonel Komsan Saardluan said parts of the cave, which is an estimated 6-8 kilometres long, get flooded to a height of as much as 5 metres during the rainy season, which runs from June through to October.

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Footage on Thai television showed bikes and backpacks left at the cave entrance. ThaiPBS television reported the team members came from various schools in the province and were thought to have been practicing before going to the park where the cave is located.

The search began around midnight on Saturday after police received a report of a missing child from a mother who said her son had not returned from the soccer practice that evening, ThaiPBS reported.

It said the mother last spoke to her son when he told her in the afternoon he was with the group visiting a cave inside the Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

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