China: The not-so invisible hand in US-North Korea talks

11 January, 2019, 11:13 | Author: Sally Reid
  • A vehicle in the motorcade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Beijing China on Jan 9 2019

China has backed a second bilateral summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un and pledged to play a part in denuclearising the peninsula.

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

South Korea's Ambassador to the USA says he is hopeful that a second meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place.

"Xi Jinping said that the legitimate issues raised by the DPRK are rightful demands and that he fully agrees that the DPRK's reasonable interests should be justly resolved", it said. "Judging from the delegation lineup, the mission appears to place emphasis on North Korea's continuing diplomatic outreach and nuclear and security issues", Aoki said.

His approval rating hit stratospheric levels during the first set of summits a year ago between himself and Kim, and later between the North Korean and United States leaders in Singapore.

Pyongyang and Washington have been locked in a stalemate over how to carry out the agreements they reached in their first-ever summit in June, at which Kim promised to work toward complete denuclearization in exchange for security guarantees from the US.

Tuesday's meeting focused on Kim's expected meeting with Trump, according to Yonhap.

Kim held three summits previous year with Xi, his most important ally, before and after summits with Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Beijing is Pyongyang's sole major ally and key provider of trade and aid, their ties forged in the blood of the Korean War.

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Kim's visit also takes place amid trade talks between Washington and Beijing. 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.

All aboard: Kim's personal train which brought him to Beijing has pink leather chairs inside.

"We always believe that, as key parties to the Korean Peninsula issue, it's important for the two sides to maintain contact and we always support their dialogue to achieve positive outcomes", Lu said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has refrained from commenting on the meeting, which comes as a second summit between Kim and Trump is materializing.

During the visit, the North Korean leader met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and visited a pharmaceutical factory in southern Beijing, in addition to a high-tech economic development zone.

It wasn't clear from the reports if Kim was in back in the North, but his train presumably would arrive sometime Thursday.

But China, perhaps hesitant to sour relations with Washington amid a bruising trade war between the world's two biggest economies, may also be hoping to extract something from Kim's visit.

"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". -China negotiations were extended another day to Wednesday.

There is no definite date or location for the possible second Kim-Trump summit, though South Korean president Moon Jae-in says it will happen very "soon".

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