[Breaking] Kim reaffirms commitment to denuclearization in summit with Xi

Clay Curtis
January 10, 2019

The long train was seen Wednesday travelling on an elevated track over a busy street heading toward eastern China.

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

It was unclear where or when a fresh summit would take place but South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday the latest China trip signalled an imminent second summit between Kim and Trump.

The worldwide community expects peaceful dialogue on the fate of the Korean peninsula to continue and yield results, Xi told Kim during the North Korean leader's fourth visit to China in the past 12 months, according to the Xinhua report.

North Korean and Chinese state media announced his visit shortly in advance of his arrival, in a break with standard protocol dictating such trips are only confirmed after they happen. Beyond confirming his presence in Beijing, there has been no detail provided from either the North Korean or Chinese side on his schedule.

Kim emerged from his quarters around 4 p.m.to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, where Kim's wife Ri Sol-ju joined them later. He said Beijing remains supportive of efforts to end tensions over US demands for a halt to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. But talks have since stalled over disagreements about how to accomplish that.

China is the North's sole major ally, main diplomatic backer and a key trade partner, whose forces were instrumental in fighting for it during the 1950-53 Korean War.

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

Meanwhile, Cheong Wa Dae said it hopes Kim's visit to China "lays the groundwork" for a second U.S.

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The meeting was followed by a dinner hosted by Xi and his wife, Yonhap said.

Xi re-asserted China's importance in the diplomatic process surrounding the Korean peninsula, Xinhua said, quoting him as saying that Beijing stands ready to "play a positive and constructive role in maintaining peace and stability and realizing denuclearization on the peninsula and lasting peace and stability in the region".

But Hua said Kim's visit would have a "limited" effect on the trade negotiations.

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

"The Korean peninsula situation has been easing since a year ago, and China's important role in this process is obvious to all ... the DPRK side highly and sincerely appreciates the Chinese efforts", Kim said.

Mr Trump said on Sunday that the United States and North Korea are negotiating the location of their next summit.

Kim spoke with Xi for about an hour Tuesday night, discussing ways to strengthen their ties and lay out strategy for a potential summit between Kim and Trump on curbing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, Yonhap reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the talks.

The trip to China came a week after Kim, in his annual New Year's address to the nation, renewed his commitment to denuclearisation but warned that Pyongyang may change its approach to nuclear talks if Washington persists with sanctions.

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