North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in China on Tuesday, his third visit since March, and met Chinese President Xi Jinping for reasons not yet disclosed by the Chinese government, reported PTI.
Xi lauded the “positive” outcome of Kim’s historic summit with US President Donald Trump and promised an unwavering friendship.
“No matter the changes in the international and regional situation, China’s party and government’s resolute position on being dedicated to consolidating and developing Sino-North Korea relations will not change,” the report cited Xi as saying, as reported by Reuters.
Xi further added that friendship between the Chinese people and North Korean people would not change and “China’s support for socialist North Korea will not change.”
Unlike the earlier two visits which were done in secrecy until its purpose was complete, China announced Kim’s visit on his landing to Beijing.
As reported by Reuters, Kim told Xi that he hoped to work with China and other parties to push the peace process.
Kim was welcomed by China’s President with an honour guard in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
After the historic summit with US President Donald Trump, Kim is visiting China amidst the heightened US-China trade war, where US imposed 25 per cent tariffs on USD 50 billion worth of Chinese goods last week.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reportedly evaded questions on Kim’s visit and its purpose. Instead, he said that details of the visit will be released in a timely manner and according to a specific situation.
Kim is visiting China and there is a reason for this, said Geng.
On being questioned whether China would join Russia calling for a lifting of UN sanctions against North Korea in the light of the Singapore summit, Geng replied, “China stands against the unilateral sanctions outside the UNSC. This position is very clear. We believe that sanctions itself is not an end and all parties should support and coordinate with the current diplomatic efforts and dialogue to work hard for denuclearisation and political settlement of the Korean peninsula issue.”
In 2006, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test which, resulted in a series of economic sanctions against North Korea by the Un Security Council. This move reportedly crippled Pyongyang.
It is speculated that when Trump took the reins, he put pressure on China by implementing UN sanctions, which led Kim to agree to scale down his nuclear programme. Following speculations, this further lead to the summit with US.
Despite reported differences, China remains a close ally of North Korea.
Meanwhile, China was briefed by US Secretary Mike Pompeo about the Singapore summit on his recent visit.
During a joint press conference with Pompeo, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China would like the US and North Korea to see the summit as “a new starting point” from which they can “maintain a momentum of dialogue and consultation, accommodate each other’s legitimate concerns, and work with other parties to advance the process of denuclearisation and the political settlement of the peninsula issue”.
(with PTI inputs)