China's Vice Premier to Visit North, South Korea

China’s Foreign Ministry has announced that vice premier Li Keqiang will be visiting North and South Korea next week. This comes after North Korea’s announcement that it is ready to resume the six-party talks that it walked out of in April 2009. AP reports:

China’s Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday that Vice Premier Li Keqiang will visit North Korea for three days next week and then go to South Korea for two days.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu says Li and leaders of the Koreas would discuss issues of mutual concern. Jiang says there has been progress in restarting the disarmament talks and that Beijing wants all sides to seize the opportunity.

China has served as the sponsor for the six-party talks between China, North and South Korea, the United States, Japan and Russia, which started in 2003. The talks are expected to address issues such as the development of relations between the Koreas and China. Xinhua adds:

During the visit, Li will hold talks and meetings with leaders of both countries on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern, Jiang said. “We believe the visit will positively boost the further development of China’s relations with the DPRK and the ROK.”

Regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Jiang said China, as a country neighboring the Peninsula and a friend of both the DPRK and the ROK, sincerely supports the North-South cooperation to improve ties and seek reconciliation, and expects the Peninsula to maintain peace and stability and realize lasting peace.