U.S. and Chinese Diplomats Discuss North Korea-Russia Military Cooperation and Defector Repatriation

WASHINGTON — Amid rising concerns over North Korea's military relations with Russia and the repatriation of North Korean defectors by China, U.S. and Chinese diplomats convened for a video conference to discuss these critical issues, according to the U.S. State Department.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the talks featured Ambassador Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, and Liu Xiaoming, China's special representative on Korean Peninsula affairs. The conversation comes at a time when the U.S. is urging China to adopt a constructive approach toward issues concerning North Korea.

A primary focus of the meeting was the emerging military alliance between North Korea and Russia. The U.S. has recently disclosed that North Korea has shipped a considerable volume of military equipment and munitions to Russia for its engagement in the Ukraine conflict. In the dialogue, Kim emphasized that these arms transfers from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) compromise global non-proliferation efforts and violate multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that Russia itself has backed.

Kim urged all U.N. member states to meet their obligations and rigorously enforce U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea. He also restated the U.S.' commitment to fostering peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and expressed hope for ongoing multi-level discussions on North Korean issues.

Another key topic was China's alleged repatriation of North Korean escapees earlier this month. The U.S. has called on China to respect the international principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of individuals to countries where they could face persecution or severe harm.

The talks are part of a broader diplomatic effort by the U.S. to engage China on multiple fronts, including securing stability on the Korean Peninsula, preventing an escalation of conflict between Israel and Hamas, and laying groundwork for a potential meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco next month.

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