Home / NEWS / Donald Trump hails progress with Kim Jong-un as North Korean leader’s trip to China confirmed

Donald Trump hails progress with Kim Jong-un as North Korean leader’s trip to China confirmed

Donald Trump has hailed progress in the North Korean standoff after the regime’s leader Kim Jong-un backed denuclearisation during a surprise visit to China

The US president said there was a “good chance” Mr Kim would “do what is right” for humanity and expressed optimism for the pair’s much-anticipated talks. 

It came after Mr Kim met Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, during a three-day diplomatic trip to Beijing – his first meeting with a foreign leader since taking power in 2011. 

Mr Kim said he supported US-North Korea summit and wanted to see the “denuclearistion” of the Korean peninsula, according to a Chinese state media outlet. 

Reacting to the news, Mr Trump revealed Mr Xi had sent a personal message briefing him on the meeting and struck an upbeat note on Wednesday morning. 

Mr Trump tweeted: “For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility.

“Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity. Look forward to our meeting!”

He added that Mr Xi had said Mr Kim “looks forward” to meeting the US president, adding: “In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost!”

Chinese President Xi Jinping, second from right, and his wife Peng Liyuan, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from left, and his wife Ri Sol Ju

Credit:
AP

The developments are a marked contrast to the war of words that Mr Trump got into with Mr Kim last year as North Korea carried out a series of missile tests. 

Then the US president dubbed the North Korean leader “little rocket man” and threatened “fire and fury”, while Mr Kim called Mr Trump a “dotard” – someone who is old and senile. 

Mr Kim’s visit to Beijing was confirmed with photographs and official statements after much speculation when a dark green armoured train was spotted rolling through the city’s suburbs. 

Beijing has traditionally been the closest ally of North Korea, but ties have been frayed by the regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing for tough UN sanctions. 

That friction had opened the door to Mr Trump who was poised to become the first foreign leader to hold talks with Mr Kim before this visit took place. 

Reports from state media in China and North Korea quoted both leaders talking up the closeness of relations between their countries. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, left, shake hands at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing

Credit:
AP

According to North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, Mr Kim said: “There is no question that my first foreign visit would be to the Chinese capital.

“This is my solemn duty as someone who should value and continue the DPRK-PRC relations through generations”. 

DPRK are the initials for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. 

Mr Xi said: “Both Comrade Chairman and I have personally experienced and witnessed the development of China-DPRK relationship.”

“This is a strategic choice and the only right choice both sides have made based on history and reality…. This should not and will not change because of any single event at a particular time. 

Xinhua, China’s official news agency, talked about the “friendship” or “friendly” relations between both countries no fewer than 21 times in its report about the visit. 

The North Korean leader also told Mr Xi his nuclear-armed regime was “committed to denuclearisation”, according to Xinhua. 

Mr Kim said: “The issue of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace.” 

He was also quoted as saying: “The DPRK is willing to have dialogue with the United States and hold a summit of the two countries.” 

Analysts had earlier suggested Beijing had been sidelined by Pyongyang’s approaches to Seoul and Washington, but Mr Kim’s visit means China has reclaimed its leading role on the world stage.

Deng Yuwen, an independent Chinese international relations scholar, said North Korea needed to turn to its old ally ahead of the US summit, as Kim will be sceptical that Mr Trump will guarantee the security of his regime.

“North Korea needs the big brother to protect it at a crucial moment,” Deng told AFP.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, fourth from left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, meet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

Credit:
AP

Mr Kim had not met Mr Xi since the young North Korean leader took over after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011.

Speculation had been rife in recent days that the North Korean leader had travelled to China. 

After a dark green armoured train was spotted rolling through Beijing’s suburbs on Monday, the motorcade was later seen heading towards a location where Mr Xi typically hosts foreign dignitaries.

Mr Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April before a proposed  Trump summit in May. 

As diplomatic momentum builds towards the much anticipated meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Kim, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold talks with the US president in April. 

The Japanese leader is finalising details for a summit with Mr  Trump on April 18 to discuss strategy, a ruling party official told Reuters on Wednesday.

The meeting between Mr Abe and the U.S. leader is expected to be held at Trump’s Mar-a-Largo retreat in Florida, according to the source.

Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, met then-president Jiang Zemin in China in 2000 before a summit between the two Koreas in June that year. That visit was seen at the time as reaffirmation of close ties with Beijing.

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/28/kim-jong-un-chinese-president-xi-jinping-held-talks-beijing/

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