China's new ambassador to North Korea takes up post

·2 min read

China has confirmed that its new ambassador to North Korea has taken up his post following a 15-month gap caused by Covid-19 controls.

Wang Yajun was appointed more than two years ago, but the Chinese foreign ministry only confirmed his arrival in Pyongyang on Monday.

Wang was the first foreign diplomat to arrive in the country since January 2020.

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"We believe that Ambassador Wang Yajun's assumption of office will play an important role in promoting the development of the traditional friendship and cooperation between China and North Korea," Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said.

"China and North Korea are friendly neighbours sharing mountains and rivers. In recent years, under the strategic leadership of the top leaders of the two countries, China-DPRK [the Democratic People's Republic of Korea] relations have entered a new historical period and continued to move forward."

Wang, 54, is one of the youngest Chinese diplomats of his rank. He spent years in administrative and research jobs at China Foreign Affairs University, an institution affiliated to the foreign ministry, and in the ministerial policy research department.

He gained most of his overseas experience in Europe, including as head of mission to the European Union in 2010.

He was appointed as deputy director of the Chinese Communist Party's International Liaison Department - which handles relations with other Communist states - in 2018.

Wang was named as the ambassador to North Korea in December 2020, but has been unable to take up the post until now. His predecessor, Li Jijnjun who took up the post in 2015, remained in the country until December 2021.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has praised Li, who has previously served as ambassador to Myanmar and the Philippines, for his contribution to the relationship between the two countries

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