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Envoy: China, Russia offer support for upcoming summits with North Korea

By Jennie Oh
Envoy: China, Russia offer support for upcoming summits with North Korea
South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong speaks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured), during their meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia, 13 March 2018. Chung Eui-yong pays a working visit to Russia. Photo by EPA-EFE/Alexander Zemlianicheko.

SEOUL, March 15 (UPI) -- Chinese and Russian leaders offered full support for South Korea and the United States' respective summits with North Korea, a Seoul official said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's top envoy to the North Chung Eui-yong returned to Seoul Thursday after visiting China and Russia to rally regional support on North Korea developments, the Hankyoreh reported.

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Chung informed the two officials on his recent meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, during which Kim proposed a summit with South Korea in late-April and a subsequent meeting with Trump in May.

The envoy said upon his return that the Chinese and Russian leaders lauded the South Korean president's efforts to "peacefully denuclearize the Korean Peninsula," deeming the recent progress in inter-Korean relations a "positive change."

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On Monday, Chung met Chinese President Xi Jinping who pledged continued support for Seoul's efforts to improve cross-border relations and achieve denuclearization of the peninsula.

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The South Korean official, then, traveled to Moscow for a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who also expressed support for the upcoming summits.

President Vladmir Putin was reportedly unavailable due to Russia's presidential election on Sunday.

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Chung pledged to seek further support from other countries around the world including those in the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to ensure the summits become an "epochal opportunity for peace and stability on the Peninsula."

Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the inter-Korean summit, the first to be held in more than a decade, Yonhap reported.

South Korea's presidential office said Thursday it will soon launch a preparation committee under Moon's chief of staff Im Jong-seok.

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Three working groups have been organized under the committee to set key summit agendas, organize communication and press relations as well as finances and arragements.

The first meeting of the committee will take place Friday.

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