N. Korea’s Kim meets China’s pres­i­dent ahead of Trump sum­mit

The Miracle - - National & Int -

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping in a north­ern Chi­nese port city and pledged his con­tin­u­ing com­mit­ment to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion ahead of his ex­pected sum­mit with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, state me­dia said Tues­day. The meet­ing Mon­day and Tues­day in Dalian is the sec­ond be­tween Xi and Kim in re­cent weeks, fol­low­ing Kim’s March visit to Beijing -- his first since tak­ing power six years ago. In com­ments car­ried Tues­day night by Chi­nese state me­dia, nei­ther leader was quoted as di­rectly re­fer­ring to ei­ther the planned Trump meet­ing or Kim’s sum­mit with South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in late last month. How­ever, state broad­caster CCTV quoted Xi as say­ing China “sup­ports North Korea to stick to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula and sup­ports North Korea and the U.S. in solv­ing the penin­sula is­sue through di­a­logue and con­sul­ta­tion.” Trump tweeted Tues­day that he planned to speak with Xi later in the day to dis­cuss trade and North Korea, where he said “re­la­tion­ships and trust are build­ing.” Kim was quoted as telling Xi that North Korea re­mains com­mit­ted to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and has no need to pos­sess nu­clear weapons if a “rel­e­vant party” drops its “hos­tile pol­icy and se­cu­rity threats” against it, a clear ref­er­ence to the United States. “I hope to build mu­tual trust with the U.S. through di­a­logue,” Kim was quoted as say­ing. A po­lit­i­cal res­o­lu­tion of tensions on the penin­sula and de­nu­cle­ariza­tion should pro­ceed in stages, with all sides mov­ing in con­cert, he said. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has de­manded that North Korea im­me­di­ately com­mit to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion. The KimXi meet­ing was the top news story in North Korea, with its most fa­mous tele­vi­sion an­nouncer, Ri Chun Hui, again called out of her semi-re­tire­ment to re­port the event, un­der­scor­ing its im­por­tance. Ri, wear­ing a tra­di­tional Korean-style dress, of­ten smiled as she re­ported the news. The re­port, which lasted about 20 min­utes, did not show any pho­tos or video of the visit. Kim was ac­com­pa­nied by his younger sis­ter, who has taken on an in­creas­ingly pub­lic role as the North Korean leader has tried to present a “softer” face to the out­side world. North Korea’s of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency said there was a “deep ex­change of opin­ions” be­tween Kim and Xi on the changes around the Korean Penin­sula that are “draw­ing the world’s eyes and ears.” Kim of­fered his views on how North Korea and China would “firmly grasp the strate­gic op­por­tu­nity,” it said. Though ru­mours are likely wide­spread, North Korea’s me­dia still have not ex­plic­itly con- firmed the ex­pected sum­mit with Trump. The re­cent South Korean sum­mit and the po­ten­tial U.S. talks have re­ceived more at­ten­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally, but China’s role as an eco­nomic life­line for North Korea makes the talks be­tween Xi and Kim all the more cru­cial. Kim needs to make sure that what­ever ne­go­ti­a­tions he has with Trump align to some de­gree with Beijing’s po­si­tions, which could cer­tainly com­pli­cate his task ahead. China’s of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency said Xi hosted a wel­come ban­quet for Kim on Mon­day and the two lead­ers strolled along the coast­line at a govern­ment guest­house and had lunch to­gether on Tues­day. “At a cru­cial time when the re­gional si­t­u­a­tion is de­vel­op­ing rapidly, Kim said he came to China again to meet with (Xi) and in­form him of the si­t­u­a­tion,” Xin­hua said. CCTV showed Xi wear­ing a western busi­ness suit and Kim in his stan­dard high-col­lared Mao suit. They stood on a beach, sat un­der an awning on an out­door deck, strolled through lush gar­dens and sat at a con­fer­ence ta­ble. “In a cor­dial and friendly at­mos­phere, the top lead­ers of the two par­ties and the two coun­tries had an all-round and in-depth ex­change of views on China-DPRK re­la­tions and ma­jor is­sues of com­mon concern,” Xin­hua said, us­ing the ini­tials for North Korea’s of­fi­cial name, the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of Korea. China is North Korea’s only ma­jor ally, al­though trade has plum­meted in re­cent months as Beijing en­forces United Na­tions eco­nomic sanctions in re­sponse to the North’s nu­clear bomb and bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests. China has also been ea­ger to as­sert its im­por­tance in the process of low­er­ing tensions on the Korean Penin­sula. It has called for a halt to weapons tests and large-scale mil­i­tary exercises and a re­turn to six-na­tion de­nu­cle­ariza­tion talks it pre­vi­ously hosted in Beijing. It was not known how long the Xi-Kim meet­ing had been planned or why Dalian was cho­sen. Hong Kong’s South China Morn­ing Post news­pa­per cited two uniden­ti­fied sources as say­ing that Xi had flown to Dalian on the coast east of Beijing to pre­side over the of­fi­cial launch of sea tri­als for China’s first en­tirely self-built air­craft car­rier. Chi­nese in­ter­net users post­ing on so­cial me­dia de­scribed heavy se­cu­rity in the city and ex­ten­sive flight de­lays on Mon­day. Oth­ers said they spot­ted a set of Red Flag lim­ou­sines used by state lead­ers. As with Kim’s March visit to Beijing, his pres­ence in Dalian was not of­fi­cially con­firmed un­til he had left China. Re­ports said his jet flew out of Dalian air­port on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

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