BEIJING: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met his Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing Tuesday to brief his sole major ally on his unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump.
Kim’s third trip to China since March comes as Beijing tries to strengthen its role as a mediator between the US and North Korea, where it claims compelling security and economic interests.
The North’s leader, who is believed to have landed in the Chinese capital Tuesday morning, met Xi at Beijing’s ornate Great Hall of the People, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The young autocrat was given a full ceremonial welcome, including a military revue and a gaggle of adoring children shouting out welcomes.
During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the prospects for denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula as well as the potential for developing the North’s economy, CCTV reported.
The United States relies on China to enforce UN sanctions against the North, giving Beijing potential leverage in a looming trade war with Washington.Kim will be in Beijing through Wednesday, state media previously reported.
“We hope this visit will help deepen the China-DPRK (North Korea) relations and strengthen our strategic communication on major issues to promote regional peace and stability,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing.
The visit is Kim’s third to China since March, when he made his inaugural foreign trip as leader.
Previous trips had been kept secret until Kim returned home. It was not clear why Chinese state media broke with the precedent.
In addition to discussing last week’s Singapore summit, Kim is expected to ask China for help in easing economic sanctions in return for his pledge to denuclearise, according to Wang Dong, an international relations expert at Peking University.
“The Chinese and North Korean leaders are carrying out consultations on how to jointly move the Korean nuclear issue forward,” Wang said.—AFP