Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

It is now the same time in North and South Korea

It is now the same time in North and South Korea

On the Chinese side, experts say Beijing has been desperate to ensure Pyongyang doesn't move outside its orbit as Kim steps out onto the diplomatic world stage.

Like the March summit in Beijing, the Dalian summit was kept secret until Kim's plane left for Pyongyang on Tuesday afternoon.

However, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying China "supports North Korea to stick to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and supports North Korea and the solving the peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation".

The meeting, held over Monday and Tuesday in Dalian, is the second between the two men in recent weeks following Mr Kim's visit to Beijing in March, his first since taking power six years ago.

Though the US and President Trump have had an undeniable influence on North Korea's sudden openness to worldwide diplomacy, the rhetoric over summit negotiations have been fluid at best.

While the historic peace talks summit between North and South Korea at the end of April drew media attention, an activist and pastor has warned that without a focus on human rights, the developments are not an answered prayer for North Korean Christians. The latest Xi-Kim meeting also comes as Trump prepares for a historic summit with Kim in late May or early June.

The South Korean government is exploring ways to increase economic cooperation with North Korea without breaching worldwide sanctions or earning the ire of Trump.

Xi and Kim had a surprise Wuhan-style informal summit at the northeastern port city of Dalian yesterday and today.

Xinhua noted the "cordial and friendly atmosphere" of the visit in a write-up that stressed the strength of China-North Korea relations. In addition, 65 percent of South Koreans trust Kim Jong-un on his pledge to denuclearize, and Moon Jae-in's approval ratings have shot up to 86 percent.

China is North Korea's only major ally but trade has plummeted in recent months because Beijing is enforcing United Nations economic sanctions, following ballistics missile tests in North Korea.

"So what they're saying here is, 'We will be less belligerent toward you in exchange for certain concessions.' But notice what North Korea is not willing to talk about, and that is the war on their own people".

China has also been eager to assert its importance in the process of lowering tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Japan's Kyodo News Service said the aircraft departed North Korea on Tuesday, AP added.

One of the planes seen in Dalian resembled the one used by Kim's sister and close aide, Kim Yo Jong, to travel to South Korea for the Winter Olympics in February.

Addressing Kim who heads the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) of North Korea as "Comrade Chairman", Xi said Kim "made a special trip to China to meet me again just after 40-odd days" at a crucial time when the Korean Peninsula situation is undergoing profound and complex changes.

North Korean state media KCTV said Kim flew to Dalian on Monday on his private jet, where he was welcomed by high-profile Chinese officials including Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

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