Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Kim Jong Un's motorcade heads out on day 2 of China trip

Kim Jong Un's motorcade heads out on day 2 of China trip Kim Jong Un departs Beijing after meetings with Xi Jinping
Ellis Copeland | 10 January, 2019, 07:23

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and vowed efforts to produce good results from his second summit with US President Donald Trump, Chinese media reports said Thursday.

Kim couldn't be seen, but was presumed to be on board the long train as it crossed on elevated tracks over a busy Beijing street and headed toward eastern China and the border with North Korea.

The visit was Kim Jong Un's fourth to North Korea's primary diplomatic and economic ally since past year, and raises speculation that Kim was coordinating with China ahead of a possible second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan pose for photos with NK leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju in Beijing on Wednesday.

Mr Kim arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a fourth visit to his country's sole major diplomatic friend, a trip seen as a strategy session ahead of his possible second meeting with Mr Trump on Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

Each of the previous meetings between Kim and Xi have come shortly before or after summits the North Korean leader has held with either Trump or the South's President Moon Jae-in.

North Korea wants relief from the multiple sets of sanctions imposed on it over its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, while the USA wants them to remain in place until it gives up its arms - something Pyongyang has made no public promise to do.

Mr Xi said China supported North Korea and the USA "holding summits and achieving results, and supports relevant parties resolving their respective legitimate concerns through dialogue".

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Kim acknowledged China's role in developments on the Korean peninsula.

While North Korea hasn't conducted any launches or detonations in more than a year, it's displayed no real intention of abandoning the programs that are seen as guaranteeing the hard-line communist regime's survival.

Mr Moon, who has over the past year played mediator between North Korea and the U.S., said at a news conference on Thursday that Seoul would cooperate with the United States in resolving the issue of sanctions on North Korea.

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.

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 two sides agreed to make joint efforts to push for continuous new development of China-DPRK relations in the new era, constantly advance the political settlement process of the Korean Peninsula issue, bring more benefits to people of the two countries, and make positive contribution to peace, stability, prosperity and development of the region and the world.

In a New Year speech, Kim warned that Pyongyang may change its approach to nuclear talks if Washington persists with sanctions.

At Tuesday's daily Foreign Ministry briefing, spokesman Lu Kang said details of Mr. Kim's visit would be released "in due course".

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