Xi ‘hopes NK and US will meet halfway’
close to its Korea War a lly if diplomacy fails.
Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s ouster after giving up his own weapons programme are not distant memories.
China cou ld prov ide economic, politica l and securit y guarantees to North Korea in denuclearisation ta lks, sa id, Beiji ng-ba sed i ndependent pol it ica l commentator Hua Po.
“If the Korean Peninsula declares itself to be a nuclearfree zone, China can make a nuclear security commitment to North Korea,” he said.
As Pyongyang’s ng’s only major ally, Kim is hoping ping Xi can push for relief f from the multiple sets of sanctions imposed ed on it over its weapons apons programmes. The US wants them em t o re main i n place until i t g i v e s u p i t s arms, something ng Pyongyang has mad e n o p u b l i c promise to do. .
“Nor th Korea ore a i s looking for something mething where . . . they y would be rewarded for or meeting certain goals, als, rathe r than s a nct i ons being lifted only nly after ‘CVID’ [complete, verifiable and irreversible destruction] of their nuc nuclear facilities, which is what wh the US is adamant on,” said Graham Ong-Webb, Onga research fellow at the S Ra Rajaratnam School of o International S Studies in Singap Singapore.
Acco According to the of official Xinhua n news agency, X Xi said he h o p e s t h a t Nor t h Ko re a and th the US will “meet ea each other halfway” halfway”.
China is “much more p pragmatic concerning North Korea’s denuclearisation path providing they do not provoke or upturn regional stability,” Beijing-based analyst Tom Fowdy said.
“If Washington will not give [Kim] economic concessions, China in a subtle way almost certainly will . . . albeit with the expectation he does make progress and does not return to belligerence.”
‘Great deal of mistrust’
Kim’s grandfather Kim Ilsung was also adept at playing off Communist rivals Beijing and Moscow against each other during the Cold War to extract concessions from both.
Yet it appears the overtures so far have been one-way – after four visits to China, Xi has yet to visit Pyongyang.
North Korean state media reported on Thursday that Xi accepted Kim’s invite to visit, but this was conspicuously absent from Chinese media reports.
“We’ve had another visit [by Kim], so why is it that Xi Jinping has not gone to Pyongyang and what would it take in order for that visit to actually take place?” said Glaser of the CSIS.
“Both leaders see value in using this relationship and their engagement for their own purposes, but my take is that there is still a great deal of mistrust.”