Kim Jongun Returns to China, Bolstering Ties Together With Xi Jinping

Hugh Fox
May 9, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian on Monday and Tuesday, Chinese state media reported.

Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea over the Easter weekend, becoming the first USA official known to have met Kim, to lay the groundwork for the planned summit.

This is their second meeting after their first secret one in Beijing in late March.

While Kim would be giving up the last of his remaining American prisoners, whom North Korea has often used in the past as bargaining chips with the United States, a release could also be aimed at pressuring Trump to make concessions of his own in his bid to get Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arsenal, something it has not signalled a willingness to do.

Trump said last week the time and place will be announced soon.

While the historic peace talks summit between North and South Korea at the end of April drew media attention, an activist and pastor has warned that without a focus on human rights, the developments are not an answered prayer for North Korean Christians.

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The Kim-Xi meeting was the top news story in North Korea, with its most famous television announcer, Ri Chun Hui, again called out of her semi-retirement to report the event, underscoring its importance.

After Trump accepted Kim's offer to meet, Beijing quickly followed up by having Kim visit Xi.

In the past North Korea has used the term "hostile policies" in reference to the US troop presence in South Korea, the USA nuclear umbrella covering South Korea and Japan and regular joint military exercises in South Korea.

North Korea state media said Mr Kim had told Mr Xi to continue their close relationship. The North is now detaining three USA prisoners, and early talks before the summit strongly inferred that the prisoners would be released as a deed of "good will", according to inside White House source Rudy Giuliani.

Kim flew by private jet to meet with Xi in Dalian, where he was also greeted by other Chinese leaders.

Xi-Kim meeting took place amid concern in Beijing that the North Korean leader is getting too close to U.S. sidelining China pointing to its declining importance in the Korean Peninsula peace process.

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China is North Korea's most important economic and diplomatic backer, but Beijing has been angered by Pyongyang's repeated nuclear and missile tests and supported tough United Nations sanctions against its Cold War-era ally.

For his part, Kim said both the DPRK-China friendship and the Korean Peninsula situation have undergone meaningful progress since his visit to Beijing in March this year.

Kim Jong-un, left, meet the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, in Dalian. Japan's Kyodo News Service said the aircraft departed North Korea on Tuesday, AP added.

North Korea's state media reported that Kim traveled to Dalian via a special plane and he was accompanied by his powerful sister Kim Yo-jong and Ri Su-yong, a vice party chairman on worldwide affairs.

It is not clear when the meeting was planned or put together or why Dalian was chosen.

Internet users in China said security was beefed up in Dalian and flight delays happened.

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