Chinese diplomat discusses border security with North Korea

BEIJING (REUTERS) - A senior Chinese diplomat visited North Korea this week where he discussed border security and infrastructure projects, China's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday (Oct 26), in the first trip there by a high-ranking Chinese official since February.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin's two-day trip from Tuesday to Wednesday was to attend the third meeting of a bilateral border commission, the ministry said in a short statement.

The two sides had a "deep exchange of views and reached consensus" on cross-border law enforcement, infrastructure and other issues, the ministry added.

North Korea also thanked China for disaster relief given to help with recent floods, it said. "Both sides said they will continue to use the joint commission mechanism, strengthen communication and coordination and jointly maintain peace and stability along the border," the ministry added, without elaborating.

The two discussed other bilateral issues too, it said, again providing no details.

Border crime involving impoverished North Koreans has been an irritant between North Korea and China.

Last year, three Chinese villagers were reportedly killed by North Korean soldiers searching for food and money.

Liu's visit comes as Washington and its allies have urged Beijing to agree on tough new UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea after it conducted a fifth nuclear test in September.

China is North Korea's main ally and economic supporter, but has been angered by Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile tests.