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North Korea Leader Jong Un 'Secretly' Visits China

09 May 2018

"Xi Jinping reiterated China's position on the Korean Peninsula issue and emphasised that China supports the U.S. and [North Korea] leaders' meetings", according to the state-owned China News Service.

"At this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un", Trump said.

But after months of saber-rattling, and a historic summit between Kim and the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, the mood is decidedly more upbeat, and Trump has said a date and location are already set - though he did not divulge any specifics.

Trade talks between the US and China must lead to an outcome that "benefits American businesses and workers", US President Donald Trump told his counterpart, Xi Jinping, in a call on Tuesday.

By having Kim, or a high-level official, visit for the carrier launch, China may be trying to re-assert themselves in the North Korea conversation.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK had shown images of two North Korean aircraft taxiing at Dalian's airport, one an Air Koryo plane and another carrying a North Korean emblem.

Xi held a welcome banquet for the North Korean leader and took a casual stroll with him along a beach, Chinese state media Xinhua reported.

And finally, in the long term, the Global Times piece said China would act as an "indispensable companion" in North Korea's smooth social and economic transition. The meeting occurred before Pompeo's nomination as secretary of state had been confirmed. The devil, as always, is in the details of what these steps will look like, how they will be verified or enforced, and what the end goal looks like for the Korean Peninsula (including the question of the US troop presence).

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Under such circumstances, Kim, chairman of the North's State Affairs Commission, paid a visit to China only 40 days after his last trip to Beijing - which was also his first - in late March.

South Korea's presidential office said the Chinese government notified Seoul about the Xi-Kim meeting in advance. The Trump administration has demanded that North Korea immediately commit to denuclearization.

"President Trump and President Xi agreed on the importance of continued implementation of sanctions on North Korea until it permanently dismantles its nuclear and missile programs", the readout said.

"In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the top leaders of the two parties and the two countries had an all-round and in-depth exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and major issues of common concern", Xinhua reported.

Pompeo, who first traveled to North Korea as Central Intelligence Agency chief in early April, is only the second sitting secretary of state to visit the reclusive nation with which the U.S. is still technically at war.

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

China and North Korea fought side by side in the Korean War (1950-53), and remain close, but relations have been strained since the start of Pyongyang's nuclear programme, which Beijing fears has raised tensions on its borders.

North Korea Leader Jong Un 'Secretly' Visits China