North Korea's Kim Jong Un ends Beijing visit as Trump summit looms

Cheryl Sanders
January 10, 2019

A special train believed to be carrying Kim Jong Un departed Beijing Wednesday after a two-day visit by the North Korean leader to the Chinese capital.

A motorcade left Beijing's Diaoyutai guest house for foreign dignitaries early on Wednesday, with a high police presence and traffic blocked for the convoy.

Officially, at least, China says it considers the tariff battle and North Korea's weapons programs to be entirely separate.

Kim Jong Un had said he is ready to meet Trump again for the denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula.

Xi commended North Korea for its denuclearisation efforts and said China supported the resolution of concerns through dialogue.

North Korean and Chinese state media announced his visit shortly in advance of his arrival in Beijing, in a break with standard protocol dictating such trips are only confirmed after they happen.

But Chinese officials also likely want to impress on Kim - who has so far pursued only limited reforms to his statist economy - the benefits the giant Communist country has enjoyed in its transformation from an impoverished nation to economic powerhouse. But talks have since stalled over disagreements about how to accomplish that.

The North Korean leader visited China at Xi's invitation for the fourth time in less than a year.

Kim has previously said his country has completed the development of its nuclear arsenal and Pyongyang has rejected demands for what it calls its "unilateral" disarmament as "gangster-like".

Kim's visit also comes after he expressed frustration in his annual New Year's address over the lack of progress in negotiations with Washington since the Singapore summit with Trump in June, saying that if things don't improve - meaning that if sanctions relief and security guarantees aren't in the offing -Pyongyang might have to find "a new way" forward.

Relations between China and North Korea had deteriorated in recent years over Pyongyang's nuclear activities, but Mr Kim has made sure to keep Mr Xi informed about his dealings with the US and South Korea, and ties appear to have warmed.

"In order to resist the high pressure of the U.S., he must communicate with Xi in advance to see what steps he can take to deal with Trump", Mr Hua said.

At a landmark summit in Singapore previous year, Kim and Trump signed a vaguely-worded pledge on denuclearisation, but progress has since stalled with both sides arguing over their agreement's interpretation.

Despite starting his Presidency with explosive rhetoric against Kim, Trump has changed his tone considerably, and even went so far as to say "we fell in love" in September past year.

Kim's visit coincided with negotiations between United States and Chinese officials in Beijing to resolve a bruising trade dispute between the world's two largest economies that has roiled financial markets.

"I don't think we need to resort to any maneuvers to get our message across to the USA side".

A Cheong Wa Dae spokesman declined to say whether Seoul was informed of Kim's visit by either North Korea or China.

"The Sino-US trade negotiations are a matter between China and the US".

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