Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Kim Jong Un leaves China after talks with Xi on Trump sanctions

Kim Jong Un leaves China after talks with Xi on Trump sanctions

China is North Korea's only major ally, and Kim is likely consulting and coordinating with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and others ahead of a possible second summit with President Donald Trump.

In this January 9, 2019, photo provided on January 10, 2019, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second left, talks with Chinese Communist Party's International Department head Song Tao, second right, in a train on the way home from China.

"To put it simply, Chairman Kim Jong-un's trip to China is a sign that the second North Korea-US summit is near", Moon said.

Beijing is intent on keeping Pyongyang within its sphere of influence - the North acts as a buffer state, keeping the 28,500 USA troops in South Korea far from China's borders.

The ruler of the secretive state left Beijing on his special armoured train yesterday after his fourth trip to China in the last 10 months.

Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June for the first-ever leaders' meeting between their nations, but there has been a standoff ever since, with duelling accusations of bad faith.

He also credited Chinese President Xi Jinping with helping reduce regional tensions, saying 'the Korean Peninsula situation has been easing since a year ago, and China's important role in this process is obvious to all'.

Lu on Tuesday clarified Beijing's role amid the North-U.S. denuclearization talks, saying China aims to play a "positive factor".

Xinhua quoted Mr Xi as saying he hoped that North Korea and the United States could meet each other half way and that the global community expected peaceful negotiations.

Ties between China and North Korea, which had frayed as Pyongyang stepped up its missile and nuclear tests up to late 2017, warmed over the past year as Kim engaged with China, South Korea and the United States.

"Kim needs the support of Xi so as to ask the U.S. to make substantial steps, such as providing assistance to North Korea and normalising relations with North Korea".

"China has actually been a good partner in our efforts to reduce the risk to the world from North Korea's nuclear capability; I expect they will continue to do so".

Experts think Kim's China trip was meant to discuss strategies with his closest ally ahead of a possible summit with Trump, adding that it also appears aimed at strengthening the North's negotiating leverage by demonstrating its strong ties with Beijing.

KCNA reported that Kim on Wednesday visited a pharmaceutical plant belonging to Beijing Tongrentang Co.

The American leader said Sunday that the United States and North Korea are negotiating the location of their next summit.

Kim later met with Xi for a second consecutive day, having a luncheon around noon at the five-star Beijing Hotel, which has a long history of hosting important receptions, near Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

At Tuesday's daily Chinese foreign ministry briefing, spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing remains supportive of efforts to end tensions over US demands for a halt to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said Kim visited a technology development zone on the outskirts of Beijing on Wednesday and spent around 20-30 minutes touring a factory run by famed traditional Chinese medicine maker Tong Ren Tang.

Tuesday was Mr. Kim's birthday.

Pyongyang and Washington are known to be engaging in sub rosa talks for a ministerial-level meeting before the summit, to iron out denuclearization steps North Korea should take and corresponding measures from the U.S.

"China has been an important force in promoting the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and peace and stability on the peninsula", said Lu.

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