World

China’s Xi, North Korea’s Kim meet ahead of Trump summit

BEIJING North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited China this week and met President Xi Jinping, the state media of both countries said yesterday, their second encounter in two months amid warming ties between the Cold War allies.

Shortly after the visit by the North Korean leader was made public, US President Donald Trump tweeted that he would speak to his "friend" Mr Xi about North Korea later yesterday. Mr Trump is expected to have a summit meeting with Mr Kim soon.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV showed Mr Xi and Mr Kim taking a seaside stroll in the north-eastern city of Dalian and holding talks, while the official Xinhua news agency said the two leaders met on Monday and yesterday.

It was Mr Kim's second visit to China since March, highlighting efforts by the Cold War-era allies to mend ties that have chilled as Beijing has supported UN sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear activities.

Beijing is keen to avoid being left out in the cold in the wake of Mr Kim's historic summit last month with South Korean President Moon Jae In and his expected meeting with Mr Trump in June.

"After the first meeting between me and Comrade Chairman (Kim), both China-DPRK relations and the Korean peninsula situation have made positive progress. I feel happy about it," Mr Xi said, according to Xinhua.

For his part, Mr Kim was quoted as saying: "These are the positive outcomes of the historic meeting between me and Comrade General Secretary (Xi)."

TRADE

And Mr Trump tweeted that "the primary topics" of his discussion with Mr Xi "will be Trade, where good things will happen, and North Korea, where relationships and trust are building."

Japanese media had earlier shown images of an airplane normally used by North Korean VIPs flying out of Dalian, fuelling speculation that Mr Kim had been in town.

Mr Xi said he was willing to meet Mr Kim again to make joint efforts to have a healthy bilateral relationship, achieve peace on the Korean peninsula and promote regional stability, Xinhua said.

Mr Kim travelled to Beijing by train in March for his maiden official trip abroad and met Mr Xi for the first time since taking power in 2011. His trip was kept secret until he returned to North Korea.

At their summit last month in the Demilitarised Zone dividing the two Koreas, Mr Kim and Mr Moon agreed to pursue the complete denuclearisation of the peninsula.

They also decided to seek a peace treaty by the end of the year and hold talks with the US, and possibly China, to achieve it.

The Korean War, in which China fought on the North's side, ended in 1953 with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

China would likely want to be part of discussions on a peace treaty, according to experts.

While China has supported punitive measures against the North, analysts say it could worry that the diplomatic thaw may lead to a deal between Pyongyang and Washington that is not in its interests.- AFP

WORLD