N. Korea confirms summit between Kim and Xi

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-03-28 09:09 Updated : 2018-03-28 13:20
글씨작게 글씨크게

[Courtesy of People's Daily Weibo]

SEOUL --  North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his unofficial trip to Beijing this week, the North's state media said Wednesday. The meeting in Beijing came ahead of Kim's planned talks with South Korean and U.S. leaders.

At Xi's invitation, Kim visited China from Sunday to Wednesday, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju and key officials, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, adding the trip was aimed at enhancing the traditional friendship between the two countries.

A simultaneous announcement was made in Seoul and Beijing, which said that Kim, traveling aboard his special train, arrived in Beijing on Monday and returned home early Wednesday.

Kim and Xi discussed important issues including the political situation on the Korean peninsula, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Xi said there is a positive change in the situation on the Korean peninsula thanks to Kim's strategic decision, KCNA said, adding that at Kim's invitation, the Chinese leader agreed to visit North Korea at a convenient time.

China's Xinhua News Agency quoted Kim as saying the situation on the Korean Peninsula is starting to get "better" as North Korea took an initiative to ease tensions.

"It is our consistent stance to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula," Kim said, adding denuclearization can be achieved if Seoul and Washington reciprocate Pyongyang's goodwill and create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking "progressive and synchronous measures", according to Xinhua.

It marked Kim's first trip to China since he took office following the sudden death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in December 2011. Relations between Pyongyang and Beijing have been soured by North Korea's aggressive push for the development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles.

[ Xinhua News Agency]

The trip sparked speculation that North Korea was trying to mend ties with Beijing or secure China's backing ahead of Kim's landmark talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in late April and U.S. President Donald Trump by May.

The inter-Korean summit will be held at the truce village of Panmunjom in the middle of the demilitarized zone which bisects the Korean peninsula, but the location for a summit between Kim and Trump has not been disclosed.

Moon said the agenda should include denuclearization, a permanent peace system, the normalization of North Korea-U.S. relations, the development of inter-Korean ties, and economic cooperation among the three countries.