Improved relations between the former foes could dramatically alter the power structure in the region, leaving Beijing on the outside
During North and South Korea’s historic summit on Friday, China was notably quiet. Chinese officials and state media focused instead on president Xi Jinping’s meeting with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and a visit by Xi to China’s Yangtze river. After the summit, China’s ministry of foreign affairs released a short statement saying Beijing “welcomed” the results of the talks. “China stands ready to continue to play its positive role to this end,” it added, according to Xinhua news agency.
Then, on Monday, China’s foreign ministry announced it was sending its top diplomat, foreign minister Wang Yi, to visit North Korea this week.
North and South Korea have been divided since the end of the Korean War (1950-53), and except for about a decade ending in 2008, relations between the two have remained frosty. The two nations technically remain in a state of war, since a peace treaty was never signed. There have been occasional outbreaks of violence, most recently in 2010 when 50 people were killed when a South Korean navy corvette was sunk and several islands close to the border were attacked.