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China backs second North Korea-US summit, Xi Jinping assures Kim Jong-un of firm support

China fully and firmly supports North Korea’s denuclearisation efforts and backs its upcoming dialogue with the United States, President Xi Jinping has conveyed to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, during their meetings in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

world Updated: Jan 10, 2019 20:47 IST

Hindustan Times, Beijing
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Dalian, China.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Dalian, China.(Reuters)
         

China fully and firmly supports North Korea’s denuclearisation efforts and backs its upcoming dialogue with the United States, President Xi Jinping has conveyed to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their meetings in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Xi said China expects North Korea and the US to “to meet each other halfway”, indicating that Beijing wants Washington to consider waiving sanctions against Pyongyang in exchange of the Communist country’s assurance of gradually dismantling its nuclear facilities.

“China hopes that the DPRK and United States will meet each other halfway,” Xi said, adding: “China stands ready to work with the DPRK and relevant parties to play a positive and constructive role in maintaining peace and stability and realising denuclearisation on the peninsula and lasting peace and stability in the region.”

A lengthy statement issued by official news agency, Xinhua, on Kim’s visit — issued several hours after he took the train from Beijing back to Pyongyang — said China is willing to work with North Korea, US and “relevant parties” for peace in the peninsula.

This was Kim’s fourth visit to China in less than a year and details of the meetings were kept secret until well after the North Korean leader — who is officially chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea — had left for his country.

The statement revealed that Xi and Kim had met for several hours over official meetings and banquets.

The message from the meetings as evident from the statement was China’s — as expected from the closest ally — unequivocal support to North Korea. It was also clear that Kim was preparing for his second summit with US President Donald Trump set to take place soon.

Kim and Trump had met at a high-profile summit in Singapore last June where the focus was on North Korea’s denuclearisation and easing North Korea-South Korea tension.

“China supports the DPRK’s continued adherence to the direction of denuclearisation on the peninsula, supports the continuous improvement of inter-Korean relations, supports the DPRK and the United States holding summits and achieving results, and supports relevant parties resolving their respective legitimate concerns through dialogue,” Xi said.

Kim told Xi that he hoped parties involved in peace dialogue in the peninsula will recognise North Korea’s legitimate concerns. Kim said “... he hoped that relevant parties will attach importance to and positively respond to the DPRK’s legitimate concerns, and jointly push for a comprehensive resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue”.

“The DPRK will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearisation and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and US leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community,” Kim said.

Xi said it has become the international community’s common expectation and consensus for the dialogue to continue and yield results. The political settlement of the Peninsula issue faces a rare historic opportunity.

In the bilateral context, the two sides agreed to make joint efforts to push for continuous new development of China-North Korea relations in the new era and bring more benefits to people of the two countries.

Prior to the talks on Tuesday, Xi held a welcome ceremony for Kim at the Great Hall of the People.

“After the talks, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan hosted a welcome banquet for Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju, and they watched an art performance together,” the statement.

On Wednesday, Kim also visited Tong Ren Tang pharmaceutical plant in Yizhuang, Beijing, where he inspected relevant processing and production lines of traditional Chinese medicine that use traditional and modern techniques.

Kim Yo-jong, who is Kim’s sister and “alternate member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and first vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department”, accompanied him during the visit.

First Published: Jan 10, 2019 11:02 IST

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