Kim Jong Un makes third, most significant trip to China
Sheetal Sukhija - Wednesday 20th June, 2018
Kim Jong Un arrived in China a week after he met Trump in Singapore
This was the North Korean leader’s third visit to China this year
Chinese officials said that the visit would strengthen strategic communication between the two nations
BEIJING, China - In his third and possibly the most significant visit to China this year, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, to hold talks with the Chinese President.
Kim Jong Un arrived in Beijing a week after his first ever meeting with the U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore, where the two leaders held historic talks.
North Korea agreed to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, while the U.S. offered security guarantees and pledged to end “war games” with South Korea - which have been criticized not only by North Korea but also its closest ally, China as being provocative.
Experts had anticipated a meeting between Kim Jong Un and Jinping post the Trump summit, and even though China has joined the international community in slapping economic sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests - the country still remains North Korea’s most important diplomatic and economic backer.
Kim Jong Un’s visit was likely aimed at briefing the Chinese President Xi Jinping about his historic summit with Trump.
In a highly unusual move that made experts sit up and take note, the Chinese state media announcement Kim Jong Un’s visit and revealed that he would stay in the country for two days.
China and North Korea have held previous meetings in secrecy, with official announcement coming only after the meeting between leaders of the two countries had been through.
Ahead of the North Korean leader’s visit on Tuesday, security in certain key areas was beefed up.
Additional police and security had been put in place at Beijing’s main Changan Avenue, which leads to the Great Hall of the People, where Chinese leaders usually meet visiting heads of state.
Further, security was also heightened outside the Diaoyutai State Guest House.
Further, local reports noted that view of the official welcome spot for foreign leaders, the east gate of the Great Hall, was blocked off by a giant screen along the stretch of the road, which was erected by authorities ahead of the North Korean leader’s arrival.
In a brief statement ahead of the meeting, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a regular briefing, “We hope this visit can help to further deepen China-North Korea relations, strengthen strategic communication between both countries on important issues and promote regional peace and stability.”
Further, the North Korean leader arrived in Beijing, the same day as the U.S. and South Korea officially announced that they were halting the joint military drills, or war games on the Korean Peninsula.
On Tuesday, as Kim Jong Un made his way to Beijing, South Korea and the Pentagon announced they would halt the annual Freedom Guardian military drill scheduled for August.
The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills last year featured 17,500 American and over 50,000 South Korean troops, although the exercise is mostly focused on computerized simulations rather than field exercises.
Meanwhile, commenting on his visit to China, South Korea’s foreign ministry spokesman said South Korea and China shared the strategic goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
Addressing reports, Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-deok said, “Our government hopes China will play a constructive role in resolving this problem. We hope Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit will contribute to that.”
In its official statement after Kim Jong Un met the Chinese President, China said in a statement that it welcomes the warming of ties between the United States and North Korea, and that it has offered to help.
Later, speaking to reporters, the Chinese President Xi Jinping even praised Kim Jong Un, lauding the “positive” outcome of his historic summit with Trump and promising unwavering friendship.
Chinese state television quoted Jinping as telling Kim Jong Un, “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 leader also added, “The Chinese people’s friendship for the North Korean people will not change, and China’s support for socialist North Korea will not change.”
Further, Jingpin added that he was pleased to see North Korea’s decision to promote economic reforms, adding that “China’s own reform and opening up process had meant the Chinese people’s eyes had been open to the world.”
Meanwhile, Chinese state television said that during the meeting, Kim Jong Un told Jinping that he hoped to work with China and other parties to push the peace process.
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