China’s President Xi Jinping paid a visit to Pyongyang, the first by a Chinese leader in 14 years, aimed at bolstering the country against pressure from US-led sanctions.
It came a week before Xi and US President Donald Trump are due to meet at a Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, amid a trade war that has rattled global financial markets.
On the final day the visit, Xi discussed discussed plans to strengthen collaboration, as well as their countries’ “major internal and external policies,” the North official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Saturday.
Xi pledged assistance for Pyongyang’s efforts to ensure its security and development. Kim described the visit an opportunity to demonstrate “the immutability and invincibility of … (their countries’) friendship before the world.”
An editorial in the official China Daily pledged to help develop the North Korean economy were the right way forward.
Washington-Pyongyang ties came to a halt following the failure of a second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam.
Back in May, Pyongyang announced that the talks would never be resumed unless Washington “comes forward with a new method of calculation.”
Chinese media quoted Kim as saying that he was “willing to be patient” in the talks with the US, but wanted “the parties concerned” to meet him halfway.
Director of a private think tank in South Korea, the Sejong Institute, believes that Xi wanted “to secure negotiating leverage ahead of his meeting with Trump.”
Lee Seong-hyon said Trump is eager to know what Kim is thinking, and Xi may be able to gain insights from Kim to pass along to the US president when they meet later this month.