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Chinese president eyes ‘peace and stability’ after Kim Jong Un meeting

The North Korean leader met Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he hopes Pyongyang and Washington can fully implement the outcomes of last week’s nuclear summit.

State broadcaster CCTV said Mr Xi told Mr Kim that through the “concerted efforts of the relevant countries”, negotiations regarding issues on the Korean peninsula are back on track and the overall situation is moving in the direction of peace and stability.

The summit last week between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore marked an “important step toward the political solution of the Korean peninsula nuclear issue”, Mr Xi was quoted as saying in the meeting at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.

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Xi Jinping walks with Kim Jong Un during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing (CCTV/AP)

Mr Xi said China hopes North Korea and the US can “implement well the outcomes achieved at the summit”.

He said China would “as always play a constructive role” in the process.

In a joint statement at last week’s summit, Mr Kim pledged to work towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula in exchange for US security guarantees.

Mr Trump also agreed to suspend military exercises with South Korea in what was seen as a major win for North Korea and its chief allies China and Russia.

Mr Kim’s two-day visit to China, which began on Tuesday, had not been announced in advance but was expected as part of the communist neighbours’ tradition to report to each other on major developments.

The visit is Mr Kim’s third to China since March, highlighting Beijing’s crucial role in efforts by the US and others to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme.

The US has long looked to China to use its influence with North Korea to bring it to negotiations, but the visit comes as ties between Beijing and Washington are being tested by a major trade dispute.

Mr Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, were welcomed by Mr Xi with full military honours. Mr Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, later hosted their guests at a banquet, CCTV reported.

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Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan with Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol-Ju (CCTV/AP)

China’s official Xinhua News Agency announced the North Korean leader’s visit shortly after he apparently landed on Tuesday morning, dispensing with the secrecy shrouding previous trips to China by the North Korean leader and his father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il.

On the younger Mr Kim’s first visit to China as leader, he took an armoured train as his father had. His first two trips were not announced until after he had returned to North Korea.

He is probably hoping to get China’s support for relief from punishing UN sanctions.

At a regularly scheduled briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing supported Russia’s calls last week for unilateral sanctions on North Korea — ones that aren’t imposed within the United Nations framework — to be cancelled immediately.

“China always stands against the so-called unilateral sanctions outside the Security Council framework. This position is very clear and we believe sanctions themselves are not the end,” Mr Geng said.

While Beijing and Moscow have supported UN restrictions, they bristle at Washington imposing sanctions on its own to pressure North Korea.

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Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump at the summit in Singapore (Evan Vucci/AP)

Mr Trump’s surprise announcement in Singapore of a US suspension of military drills with its South Korean ally fulfils a goal long pursued by North Korea and its primary backers China and Russia.

That move is seen as potentially weakening defences and diplomacy among America’s Asian allies, while bolstering China and Russia.

The US has stationed combat troops in South Korea since the Korean War, in which China fought on North Korea’s side and which ended in 1953 with an armistice and no peace treaty.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Mr Kim’s visit to China highlights the “constructive role” Beijing could play in disarming North Korea.

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