Kim, Xi portray strong ties after NKorea leader's China trip

Alyssa Bailey
April 1, 2018

Just how much is still open to debate, but the apparent high-level visit shows that Kim Jong Un hasn't forgotten his only major ally despite recent antipathy between the countries and bombshell announcements that the young North Korean leader will hold summits with his foes in Washington and Seoul.

The two Korean leaders will meet at Peace House, a South Korean building inside Panmunjom, according to a joint statement the negotiators issued at the end of their talks on Thursday.

Although China sought to keep Kim's visit secret, and described it Wednesday as "unofficial", it accorded him full honors due to a head of state, including a formal welcoming ceremony and troop review at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.

Christopher Green, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, pointed out that Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong-il travelled to Beijing to meet with the then Chinese leader Jiang Zemin in 2000, ahead of the first inter-Korean summit. China has appeared increasingly shut out as its relations with the North deteriorated and Pyongyang reached out to Seoul and Washington.

But Chinese state television gave similar coverage to Kim's meetings with Xi as they did to Xi's meetings with Trump a year ago, with an unusually long 14-minute report of what Xi and Kim discussed and where and how they met, though the initial secrecy of the trip meant no live coverage of the welcome ceremony. By visiting Beijing now, Mr. Kim is sending a clear message: that he is serious about his offer of talks. Another one is that Putin is going to take advantage of the situation and move against Eastern Ukraine. the Iranians will act up and the Chinese - even if they weren't as good as their word toward North Korea - will move on some South China Sea reef or rock or whatever. "Look forward to our meeting!".

Kim Jong Il's visits to China were also surrounded in secrecy, with Beijing only confirming his presence after he had crossed the border by train back into North Korea.

But the appointment of the hawkish John Bolton as national security adviser has heightened fears that the U.S. might resort to military action if Trump is disappointed by his meeting with Kim.

President Donald Trump went so far as to venture that there is now "a good chance" that peace between North Korea and the USA can be established.

This is a likely sign that Kim was looking to enlist China's support for his preferred approach to denuclearization, which most likely involves immediate sanctions relief and other rewards in exchange for incremental steps by North Korea.

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Suga welcomed plans for an April 27 meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas as a sign of progress resulting from global pressure on North Korea.

North Korea's state media has reportedly neglected to mention Kim Jong-un's calls for making the Korean Peninsula a nuclear-free zone, despite the fact that this matter was apparently an integral part of the North Korean leader's agenda during his visit to Beijing.

Reuters/Kevin LamarqueUS President Donald Trump speaks in front of his Trump Tower residence.

It may also be that the North recognizes some hard realities.

The North's diplomatic outreach this year follows a tense 2017 when it conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date and tested three intercontinental ballistic missiles created to target the US mainland.

"At least one of the things that Kim would want out of these meetings is a way forward to begin to ease those sanctions and support from China in that effort", said Glaser, the Asia expert.

Kim Jong Un shocked the world yet again this week, but this time it was with a slow train, not a ballistic missile.

But it also has its own interests in mind.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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