North Korea: Kim Jong Un Visits China Ahead of Trump Summit

Jan 09, 2019, 02:32
North Korea: Kim Jong Un Visits China Ahead of Trump Summit

During the visit, the leaders of North Korea and China are expected to discuss the agenda for Kim's second summit with Trump, who said Sunday that the U.S. was negotiating a location for the meeting and would announce it in the "not-too-distant future".

Kim's first foray outside of North Korea as leader was for a summit with Xi last March.

In a New Year's speech, Kim warned Washington the country might be forced to take an alternative path if the U.S. "That should make America quite concerned". The U.S. government declined to comment on Italian media reports saying that Jo had escaped there.

During his fourth visit to China, Kim will reportedly seek to promote US-DPRK negotiations which have so far stalled over Washington's skepticism about Pyongyang's intention to give up nuclear weapons.

A motorcade was seen leaving a Beijing train station, with police blocking a street with metal gates hours after Kim's train crossed the border into northern China, according to AFP journalists.

By inviting Kim to visit China on January 8, believed to be his birthday, Xi has successfully staged an amicable relationship with Kim, foreign affairs experts say.

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"We are negotiating a location", he told reporters.

However, he also warned, "We could be left with no choice but to seek a new way if the USA does not make good on its promises, misjudges our patience, while seeking to force things unilaterally and clinging to sanctions and pressure".

China is North Korea's key diplomatic ally and main source of trade and aid.

His presence in Beijing is a sign that serious preparations are underway for the second Trump-Kim summit, which Mr Trump has said will happen soon.

"The Chinese have been very clear to us that these are separate issues", Pompeo said.

"With Chinese and U.S. officials meeting to discuss how to end the growing trade war between the two superpowers, it shows Beijing clearly has a North Korea card to play if it sees fit".

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Shi Yinhong, an global relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said Kim's trip would have no direct influence on the progress of trade talks.

A spokesperson for the South Korean government expressed optimism that the diplomatic discussions between the two Koreas, North Korea and China, and North Korea and the United States might build on each other.

Details of the itinerary have not been made public, but Mr Kim will hold talks with Xi Jinping.

An optimistic report in the communist party backed nationalist tabloid the Global Times said 2019 may be a seminal year for North Korea, quoting one analyst who argued that this year could be like China's move in 1979 to move away from isolation toward economic reform and opening up in 1979.

While there were no details released about the possible agenda in China, Kim has been seeking relief from worldwide sanctions, a peace declaration to formally end the 1950-1953 Korean War, and more economic investment.

Possibly fearing the economic effect of crushing outside sanctions imposed over his weapons tests, Kim abruptly turned to diplomacy with Seoul and Washington past year.

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