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DPRK Media Reportedly Ignores Kim's Calls for Nuke-Free N Korea
01 April 2018, 12:36 | Jenny Fowler
North Korea's Kim Jong Un met Xi Jinping on surprise visit to China
According to both Chinese and North Korean state media, Kim traveled to Beijing at the invitation of Xi to personally brief the Chinese president on recent developments on the Korean Peninsula.
The South Korean newswire service Yonhap reports that the two Koreas issued a joint statement confirming the time and place for the meeting following high-level talks featuring the head of the South Korean Unification Ministry.
The meeting will be the third ever held between leaders of the two Koreas.
The rival Koreas have begun high-level talks to prepare for an April summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the standoff over the North's nuclear program.
Kim's visit to China has raised expectations that this part of the world will become a reference of the use of diplomacy instead of clashes, rather than be regarded as a possible outbreak of a military conflict.
In another tweet, he said: "Received message last night from XI JINPING of China that his meeting with KIM JONG UN went very well and that KIM looks forward to his meeting with me". China has appeared increasingly shut out as its relations with the North deteriorated and Pyongyang reached out to Seoul and Washington.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, responding to a question Thursday about reports of such talks, said Japan has all along communicated with North Korea via multiple channels.
But Chinese state television gave similar coverage to Kim's meetings with Xi as they did to Xi's meetings with Trump previous year, with an unusually long 14-minute report of what Xi and Kim discussed and where and how they met, though the initial secrecy of the trip meant no live coverage of the welcome ceremony. "Look forward to our meeting!".
On the other hand, the summit has allowed Xi to interject himself into the upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim, demonstrating China's leadership role in Northeast Asia to the rest of the world.
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This week, Mr. Kim surprised both South Korea and the United States by secretly visiting Beijing, in his first trip outside North Korea since taking power. -South Korean war games and the North's suspension of nuclear and missile activities.
President Donald Trump went so far as to venture that there is now "a good chance" that peace between North Korea and the USA can be established.
Reuters/Kevin LamarqueUS President Donald Trump speaks in front of his Trump Tower residence.
In early January, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) took the first step towards a series of talks with South Korea, during which they agreed on reciprocal visits by top officials, the participation of North Korea in the Winter Games and even performances by artists from the two countries.
President Trump has shown admirable skill in preventing North Korea from gaining the upper hand against the US with aggressive test firings of its nuclear missiles combined with its soft diplomacy at the Winter Olympics. Analysts think Kim may have been seeking promises from Beijing that it wouldn't hit the North too hard with sanctions if the talks with Washington and Seoul fall apart and the North starts testing nuclear weapons and missiles again.
"The South and North agreed on efforts to make the summit successful, sharing its historic significance in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, settling peace there and improving inter-Korean relations", Mr. Cho told reporters.
Throughout it all, China has portrayed itself as the one steering the agenda.
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