North Korean leader Kim Jong Un briefed Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday on his historic summit with US President Donald Trump, a visit that underscores Beijing’s efforts to remain at the centre of fast-moving nuclear diplomacy.
Kim’s third trip to China since March comes as Beijing tries to strengthen its role as a mediator between the US and its neighbour, where it claims compelling security and economic interests.
The North’s leader, who is believed to have landed in the Chinese capital Tuesday morning, met Xi at the ornate Great Hall of the People. He was given a full ceremonial welcome, including a military revue and a gaggle of adoring children shouting out welcomes.
Kim “felt thanks for and highly praised China’s promotion of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and its important role in protecting the peninsula’s peace and stability,” state-run CCTV said.
North Korea “hopes to work with China and other concerned parties to promote and establish a solid, long-lasting peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula and make joint efforts to achieve a lasting peace on the peninsula.”
For his part, Xi told Kim he “wants North Korea and the US to carry out the results of their leadership summit” in Singapore on June 12, the report said.
Trump and Kim pledged in a joint summit statement to “work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”.
The United States relies on China to enforce UN economic sanctions against the North, giving Beijing potential leverage in its looming trade war with Washington.
“I think that North Korea can be another card Beijing can play to win leverage in negotiations with Washington,” Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told AFP.
In addition to discussing last week’s Singapore summit, Kim was expected to ask China for help in easing the sanctions in return for his pledge to denuclearise, according to Wang Dong, an international relations expert at Peking University. —AFP