Beijing will send a special envoy to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Friday, the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee said in a news release on Wednesday.
Song Tao, head of the department and an envoy of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, will fly to the DPRK on Friday. During the visit, he will report on the Party’s 19th National Congress as part of China’s party-to-party messenger diplomacy.
Song, a former vice-foreign minister who is now in charge of the Party’s diplomacy with its foreign counterparts, visited Laos and Vietnam as the general secretary’s envoy in January 2016 and November.
During Song’s visit, the two sides will also exchange views on issues of common concern between the two parties and between the two countries, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular media conference in Beijing on Wednesday.
Exchanges between the CPC and the DPRK’s Workers’ Party of Korea “play an important role” in relations between the two countries, Guo Yezhou, deputy head of Song’s department, told reporters on the sidelines of the Party congress last month.
Yuan Peng, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the envoy’s trip shows the value China places on its traditional friendship with the DPRK and sends a signal that bilateral ties are improving.
Although the concrete influence of the envoy’s trip is still to be seen, it remains a part of party-to-party interaction that plays a unique, indispensable role in China’s diplomacy and is a good supplement to country-to-country interactions, Yuan said.
Yuan said his confidence is based on the new look that China’s most recent diplomacy with neighbors has shown, as Xi, who is also president, has embarked on frequent talks with leaders of neighboring countries and productively worked on thorny issues.
China has been fulfilling the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on the DPRK in recent years, given Pyongyang’s multiple violations of Security Council resolutions over the DPRK’s nuclear and missile program,
Last month, the Central Committee of the DPRK’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea sent a congratulatory message on the opening of the CPC Party congress, and Kim Jong-un, chairman of the WPK, sent another message congratulating Xi on his re-election as the general secretary of CPC Central Committee.