Kim Jong-un paid ‘unofficial’ visit to Beijing, Chinese state media confirms

Lily Kuo — The Guardian March 28, 2018

China has confirmed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited Beijing, where he met Chinese president Xi Jinping and pledged his commitment to denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Confirming several reports over the last two days, Xinhua state news agency said that Kim had been in China on an “unofficial visit” from Sunday to Wednesday.

According to Xinhua, Kim told Xi that the situation on the Korean peninsula is “starting to get better.” He said, “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.”

Kim added that the issue of denuclearisation could be resolved if South Korea and the United States “respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability.”

After years of provocations and missile tests, Pyongyang has made an unexpected effort in diplomacy recently. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, led a delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea last month that led to direct talks with South Korea.

Kim is expected to meet with South Korean president Moon Jae-in in April and hold a summit with US president Donald Trump possibly in May. On his visit to Beijing, Kim reportedly said he was willing to “have dialogue” with the United States.

“This is a positive political signal that Pyongyang is ready for more dialogue,” said Michael Kovrig, senior advisor for north-east Asia at the International Crisis Group, an independent conflict-prevention organisation.

“But the challenge will be creating the trust and conditions under which Kim would actually feel secure enough to denuclearise while remaining vigilant on proliferation and deterrence. That won’t be easy.”

 

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