After threatening the US of nuclear attacks, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has started making preparations for his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump.
Kim, who held ‘secret’ talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on March 27, announced that he was ready to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula. The Chinese state media reported that Kim made the announcement in the presence of President Xi.
The North Korean leader’s March 25-28 visit to China was a secret one. The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed the news only after Kim’s return to Pyongyang, saying in a statement that Beijing won a pledge from Kim to denuclearise the peninsula. According to the ministry, President Xi assured his guest that Beijing would uphold its friendship with its ‘isolated’ neighbour. It was Kim’s first known trip to a foreign country since he assumed power in 2011 and he was accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju.
It was an important political development for China, which arranged a royal reception for Kim. The Chinese state media also reported that President Xi hosted a special banquet to welcome Kim and his wife. Later, the two leaders met at the ‘historic’ Great Hall of the People. According to sources close to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Kim told President Xi that the situation on the Korean peninsula improved in recent times as North Korea took various initiatives to ease tensions. “It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearisation on the peninsula in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Xinhua quoted the North Korean leader as saying.
He further said: “The issue of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the US respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace.”
Kim is scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April. Later, he will hold talks with President Trump. His ‘secret’ visit to China (ahead of upcoming summits with South Korea and the US) has a huge diplomatic significance, as both China and Russia (considered as North Korea’s all-weather allies) are going through a tough time. Kim visited Beijing at a time when the West put Russia under tremendous diplomatic pressure over the ‘Syria’ issue and the war of words between Beijing and Washington on the trade front escalated into a full-fledged trade war.
An end to 6 years of seclusion
Meanwhile, Seoul has welcomed Kim’s decision to visit China, with a senior South Korean official stressing: “Improving ties between North Korea and China would be a positive sign before planned summits involving the two Koreas and the US.” For her part, Press Secretary of the White House Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “The Chinese government contacted the White House earlier on Tuesday to brief us on Kim’s visit to Beijing. The briefing included a personal message from President Xi to President Trump, which has been conveyed to President Trump.”
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