Beijing, – A North Korean delegation will attend a large multilateral economic summit in Beijing next week, China’s foreign ministry announced Tuesday, underlining its reluctance to join American efforts to completely isolate the regime in Pyongyang.

President Trump has set great store in China’s ability to help persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. But although China says it has suspended coal imports from its neighbor, trade between the two nations has remained healthy, the Washington Post reported.

On Sunday and Monday, leaders from 28 nations will attend a major event in Beijing –a forum on China’s ambitious development project known as the Belt and Road — meant to expand links between Asia, Europe and Africa and channel billions of dollars into infrastructure investment.

“According to what I understand, the North Korean side will send an official delegation to relevant events at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that will shortly be taking place,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a daily news conference.

Ely Ratner, who served as deputy national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, seized on the announcement as evidence that Trump was placing too much confidence in the Chinese leadership.

China’s relations with North Korea have deteriorated sharply of late, but Beijing has repeatedly urged the United States and North Korea to refrain from provoking each other and instead return to the negotiating table.

While it shares the American goal of persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program, China disagrees on tactics, believing that isolating North Korea economically and diplomatically will only force the regime into a corner.

“China is willing to continue to maintain contact with the parties concerned, do all the work, to promote the peninsula nuclear issue back through dialogue and consultation, and to make efforts to resolve the issue in a peaceful way to the correct track,” Geng said Tuesday.(QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency