Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Money | By Bruce West

Kim Jong Un heads home via train after two-day Beijing visit

Kim Jong Un heads home via train after two-day Beijing visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping accepted an offer to visit Pyongyang after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, North Korea's state media reported on Thursday.

Kim's visit comes as a USA delegation opened a second day of talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing aimed at ending the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

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

The leaders were seen to have discussed North Korea's plans for a second summit with U.S. President Trump. "But we are using various channels including the embassy in Beijing to communicate with North Korea".

In a later press conference at the presidential Blue House, Mr Moon clarified that Kim's Beijing visit had been a "sign" that a follow-up to his first summit with Mr Trump in Singapore in June was on the way. "If he wants to shift his focus to the development of the economy, he needs China's cooperation", said Lu Chao, a North Korea expert at China's Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

Kim travelled to China - his most important security and trade partner - before meetings previous year with Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

China benefits greatly from having a stable North Korea on their border as a buffer zone between them and the more western oriented South Korea.

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

In an interview with CNBC on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised China's support for resolving the North Korean crisis and said he did not think the US trade dispute with China would affect this. The North Korean leader said in his New Year's address that he might take a "new path" in negotiations if Trump didn't ease trade, travel and investment restrictions.

The expected event came one step closer to becoming a reality following a meeting in Vietnam between officials from our two nations and Kim's trip to China this week.

As VOA's Bill Gallo reports, the North Korean leader may be hoping to use the visit to increase his leverage with Washington.

There was a "rare historic opportunity" for a political settlement on the peninsula, Xi said according to Xinhua, and China "supports the DPRK and the United States holding summits and achieving results". "To ensure peace and security, we will facilitate denuclearization and play a constructive role in maintaining long-term peace in the region", Xi said.

The DongA Ilbo newspaper said that Xi hosted Kim at a banquet, which was held on the date believed to be North Korean leader's 35th birthday.

The South Korean government believes a second North Korea-U.S. summit will happen at some point in the near future.

"If Washington will not give him (Kim) economic concessions, China in a subtle way nearly certainly will. albeit with the expectation he does make progress and does not return to belligerence".

We can safely assume that Kim Jong-un has known all along that America wouldn't be abandoning their own nuclear weapons arsenal or unilaterally pulling all of our troops out of South Korea. -China negotiations were extended another day to Wednesday.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said North Korea should take bold steps towards denuclearisation, such as abandoning long-range missiles, to extract United States concessions amid a prolonged stalemate in their nuclear negotiations.

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