Kim meets with Chinese President Xi in Beijing
Beijing – Chinese President Xi Jinping told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday he hopes Pyongyang and Washington can fully implement the outcome of last week’s nuclear summit at which Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization in exchange for U.S. security guarantees.
State broadcaster CCTV said Xi told Kim that through the “concerted efforts of the relevant countries” negotiations regarding issues on the Korean Peninsula are back on track and the overall situation is moving in the direction of peace and stability.
The summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore marked an “important step toward the political solution of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue,” Xi was quoted as saying in the meeting at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.
China hopes North Korea and the U.S. can “implement well the outcomes achieved at the summit,” Xi said. China would “as always play a constructive role” in that process, he said.
Along with a statement signed by Kim and Trump offering vague commitments to denuclearization and security, Trump also agreed to suspend military exercises with South Korea in what was seen as a major win for North Korea and its chief allies, China and Russia.
Kim’s two-day visit to China, which began Tuesday, had not been announced in advance but was expected as part of the Communist neighbors’ tradition to report to each other on major developments.
The visit is Kim’s third to China since March, highlighting China’s crucial role in efforts by the U.S. and others to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. The U.S. has long looked to China to use its influence with North Korea to bring it to negotiations, but the visit comes as ties between Beijing and Washington are being tested by a major trade dispute.
CCTV showed Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, being welcomed by Xi with full military honors. Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, later hosted Kim and Ri at a banquet, CCTV reported.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency announced the North Korean leader’s visit shortly after he apparently landed Tuesday morning, dispensing with the secrecy shrouding previous trips to China by Kim and his father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il.
Xi “is exerting a lot of influence from behind the scenes,” said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“I expect they will talk about the path going forward and where priorities should lie,” Glaser said. Those priorities, from China’s perspective, would be to ensure that Beijing is included in any peace treaty talks and in creating an environment on the Korean Peninsula that will make it unnecessary for U.S. troops to remain.
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