President Xi tells North Korea’s Kim China backs peace on Korean Peninsula
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, who has traveled to the Chinese capital, was told by China’s President Xi Jinping on Tuesday that Beijing is willing to play a positive role in the promotion of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders met and discussed prospects for the denuclearization of the peninsula.
Xi said he was very happy to see the “positive” outcome of his recent meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore, and the important consensus reached on setting up a lasting peace mechanism.
“No matter the changes in the international and regional situation, China’s party and government’s resolute position on being dedicated to consolidating and developing Sino-North Korea relations will not change,” the Chinese president stated.
“The Chinese people’s friendship for the North Korean people will not change, and China’s support for socialist North Korea will not change,” Xi added.
The meeting comes just a week after Kim met Trump in Singapore.
China is North Korea’s most important diplomatic and economic supporter and a visit by Kim to Beijing had been widely anticipated in diplomatic circles. The North Korean leader was expected to brief the Chinese president on his discussions with the US president.
Beijing has also supported moves by the United States to denuclearize North Korea.
Observers say China will be seeking to use North Korea as a bargaining chip amid heightened trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.
“Trump has approved tariffs against China, so it is time for China to play the North Korea card to deal with America,” the Telegraph cited Deng Yuwen, an international relations expert and senior researcher at the Charhar institute in Beijing.
“If Kim does not want to abandon the nuclear arms completely, then China will be happy to act as a broker between Pyongyang and the US.”
On June 12, Kim and Trump met with plenty of photo ops and little time for talk at Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa in Singapore.
The two leaders met with plenty of photo ops and little time for talk at Singapore’s Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa.
Kim committed himself only to working “towards” the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a broad church that leaves open the possibility of mutual disarmament talks rather than unilateral scrapping of his nuclear program.
Nicholas Kristoff, a New York Times columnist, earlier wrote that Trump was “hoodwinked” at the summit into suspending military exercises in South Korea and secured very little in return.
Experts say denuclearization is the longstanding policy of the government in Pyongyang, but North Korea interprets this as being a gradual process in which other nuclear powers will also disarm.
North Korea also wants the United States to stop supporting South Korea and Japan through its nuclear umbrella.
Pyongyang is believed to have at least two dozen warheads, including a thermonuclear bomb, and is close to building an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a warhead to the US mainland.