Monday, 25 March, 2019

North Korea's Kim Jong-un Reportedly Leaves Beijing by Personal Train

Xi Fetes Kim Jong-un with Lavish Birthday Banquet Kim Jong Un concludes China visit ahead of possible 2nd Trump summit
Kenny Thornton | 10 January, 2019, 02:25

The motorcade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un headed out Wednesday morning to an unannounced destination on the second full day of a visit to China that has been shrouded in secrecy but is seen as part of preparations for a possible second summit with President Donald Trump.

During the North Korean leader's visit to China, he had a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, and visited a pharmaceutical factory in southern Beijing, in addition to a high-tech economic development zone. Beyond confirming his presence in Beijing, there has been no detail provided from either the North Korean or Chinese side on his schedule.

Kim left for China on a private train on Monday afternoon accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and senior North Korean officials, including Kim Yong Chol, a key negotiator in talks with the United States, and foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency said.

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

The trip - Kim's fourth to China since March - suggests negotiations over North Korea's nuclear arsenal are gaining momentum after months without high-level diplomatic exchanges.

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

-China Relations, joined CBSN to discuss.

"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.

"On Secretary Pompeo's visit to North Korea, we don't have any travel to announce at all", US State Department spokesperson Katina Adams said in response to Radio Free Asia's request for comment Tuesday. He said Beijing remains supportive of efforts to end tensions over USA demands for a halt to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

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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.

Tuesday was also Kim's birthday.

While Kim was in China, Xi's government was in talks with a visiting USA delegation over a trade war that has been extracting a financial cost on the world's two biggest economies.

Trump and Kim reached an agreement to work toward the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", during their first meeting in June in Singapore.

The US insists that United Nations sanctions must remain in place until North Korea gives up its weapons, while Pyongyang wants them eased immediately. China also wants the sanctions to be relaxed.

Some analysts say China could use its cooperation on the North Korean issue as a bargaining chip in the U.S. trade talks.

Details of his visit weren't released, but Yonhap said Kim met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Still, China has denied any interest in using North Korea as a bargaining chip and doing so risked undermining a source of stability in its strained relations with the U.S.

During his annual New Year's Day address last week, Kim said it was his "firm will" that North Korea will no longer produce or test nuclear weapons. "China and the DPRK are friendly and close neighbours and it is also an important tradition for us to maintain friendly exchanges", Lu said, referring to North Korea's formal name.

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