Xi makes his day: Kim boosted by China talks, say analysts

Muriel Colon
January 11, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that China is ready to actively facilitate the process of nuclear denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

Mr Moon said Mr Kim's latest trip to Beijing signalled that a second summit was imminent.

South Korea's Ambassador to the US says he is hopeful that a second meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place.

North Korean state news agency KCNA has said Mr Kim and Mr Xi held "in-depth, frank discussions" on the Korean peninsula and nuclear issues during his stay in Beijing, his fourth since March 2018.

Like his father - Kim Jong-il, who ruled North Korea from 1994 to 2011, Kim's strength has always been his "vagueness" about what he'll do next, and an ability to "keep everybody guessing until they do it", said James Kim.

At their high-profile summit in Singapore past year, Kim and Trump signed a vaguely-worded pledge on denuclearisation but progress between the two sides has since stalled amid disagreements over the interpretation of their agreement.

"Kim also stated that denuclearization and the issue of ending the war has nothing to do with the status of U.S. troops in South Korea", he added.

Kim held three summits a year ago with Xi, his most important ally, before and after summits with Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

But he's also made the return of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea a key political issue at home.

Asked if China is seeking to use Kim's visit as leverage in trade negotiations with the US, he added, "China's diplomacy incorporates rich and diverse contents".

Kim "raised concern" about the impasse in talks with the USA, according to Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency, which said the Chinese leader had issued a ringing endorsement of the North's position.

North Korea wants relief from the multiple sets of sanctions imposed on it over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, while the U.S. wants the measures to remain in place until it gives up its arms - something Pyongyang has made no public promise to do.

Mr. Kim could not be seen, but he was presumed to be on board the long train as it crossed on elevated tracks over a busy Beijing street and headed toward eastern China and the border with North Korea.

A auto carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un heads to the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Tuesday.

According to North Korean's official KCNA agency China supported the North's position.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan pose for photos with NK leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju in Beijing on Wednesday. -China negotiations were extended another day to Wednesday.

Panmunjom, the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean peninsula, was one that the South Korean government hoped would host the meeting, a meeting which Trump expected to take place in January or February.

While Trump says he considers Xi key to enticing Kim into taking concrete steps toward denuclearization, the president's own relationship with his Chinese counterpart has frayed over the U.S.

But Hua said Kim's visit would have a "limited" effect on the trade negotiations.

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