BEIJING, June 14 (Korea Bizwire) – China welcomed former basketball star Dennis Rodman’s visit to North Korea Wednesday, saying it supports efforts to build ties between Washington and Pyongyang.
Lu Kang, spokesman of China’s foreign ministry, made the remark in response to a question about whether Beijing views this week’s trip by Rodman and the release of an American student detained in the North as being in line with its call for a peaceful solution to North Korea’s nuclear problem.
“On whether these two incidents are related, one should directly ask the country concerned,” he said during a regular press briefing. “But in principle, I regard it as a positive trend.”
Lu said he has “consistently” welcomed and supported greater dialogue and contact between North Korea and the U.S. — as countries directly involved in the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue — to increase mutual understanding and trust.
“I hope there will be a political decision soon to restore dialogue through practical steps and resolve relevant issues through dialogue and negotiations so we can make constructive efforts together,” he said.
Rodman, who has developed a personal friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, arrived in Pyongyang the same day Otto Warmbier’s release was secured after more than a year in detention for alleged anti-state activities.
The U.S. State Department, however, said the two events were unrelated.