The world hopes North Korea and the United States can talk to each other and for those talks to be successful, Chinese President Xi Jinping told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un yesterday, praising Pyongyang’s efforts towards denuclearisation.
Xi is visiting China’s reclusive neighbour North Korea, seeking to bolster a long-time ally hit by UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes, a week before Xi and US President Donald Trump meet amid a bitter trade dispute.
Xi, whose entourage includes the head of China’s state economic planner, will be in North Korea for two days, the first Chinese leader to visit in 14 years, and could bring fresh support measures for its floundering, sanctions-bound economy.
Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, greeted Xi at the airport, Chinese state TV said. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and officials who played prominent roles in recent nuclear talks with the United States were also on hand.
Xi was driven through Pyongyang in a convertible car, standing with Kim at his side, and greeted warmly by massed, cheering crowds on his way to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a complex that serves as the mausoleum for North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung, the report said.
Xi told Kim he had come to consolidate a traditional friendship and to promote the political process for a resolution of the Korean peninsula issue, it added.
Xi “positively appraised” North Korea’s efforts to safeguard peace and stability on the peninsula and promote denuclearisation, state television said.
“The situation on the Korean peninsula concerns regional peace and stability,” the report paraphrased Xi as telling Kim at their formal meeting.
“The international community hopes that North Korea and the United States can talk and for the talks to get results.”
Since a failed summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim in Hanoi earlier this year, Pyongyang has resumed some weapons tests and warned of “truly undesired consequences” if the United States is not more flexible.
China is willing to provide what help it can to resolve North Korea’s reasonable security and development concerns, Xi said.
Kim told Xi that in the last year or so North Korea had taken many positive steps to avoid tensions. “But these didn’t get a positive response from the relevant side. This is not something North Korea wished to see,” Chinese television cited Kim as saying.
“North Korea is willing to exercise patience, and at the same time hopes the relevant side can meet North Korea halfway, seek a solution that accords with both sides’ reasonable concerns, and promote results for the talks process of the peninsula issue.”
China is the North’s only major ally and the visit comes amid renewed tension on the Korean peninsula as the United States seeks to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons, which it pursued for years in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.