Saturday, 21 July, 2018

South Korea North Korea Kim World Tour?

South Korea North Korea Kim World Tour? South Korea North Korea Kim World Tour?
Patty Aguilar | 29 March, 2018, 03:16

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearisation and to meet US officials, China said on Wednesday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold friendship with its isolated neighbour.

Bloomberg, citing three unidentified sources, reported on Monday that Kim was in Beijing in what would be his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011.

A senior US official who follows North Korea closely said the available evidence suggested that Kim had travelled to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, but stressed that has not been confirmed. "If there is news we will release it", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular daily briefing.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the China-North Korea talks and Kim's decision to travel outside his country were a "positive sign" the USA -led pressure campaign to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons has been working.

Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, recently said the president should use any summit with Kim to "make the point that he's not there to waste time and that we expect real denuclearisation, not talks about talks about denuclearisation".

China and North Korea share a similar definition of denuclearisation, according to Zhao Tong, a North Korea expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre in Beijing.

Analysts say that the Moon-Kim and Trump-Kim summits, along with the term "denuclearization", are subjects that North Korea is likely to use for domestic propaganda only after carefully assessing the results of the respective talks.

It's unclear how long the young leader will be in Beijing.

China's Foreign Ministry cited Kim in a lengthy statement as telling Xi the situation on the Korean peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tension and put forward proposals for talks.

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The newspaper also accused the South of "relying on foreign forces", saying distrust between the two Koreas can not be resolved if the South collaborates with the foreign powers that seek lasting tension on the peninsula and provocations against North Korea.

While it's unclear why Kim is in Beijing, sources told Japan's Kyodo News that it was meant to improve relations following China's backing of economic sanctions on the rogue nation.

In the wake of that invitation, which was conveyed by a South Korean delegation that met with Kim earlier this month, Trump tweeted "Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearisation with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze".

The North Korean media also did not report on the supposed visit.

"At the same time, despite the recent tensions, he needs to know what Kim has in mind for dealing with the South and the U.S., and he still has a lot of leverage with the North".

Beijing is secretive and isolated North Korea's main ally, as well as its biggest trading partner. China has not confirmed any visit by a North Korean but has not totally censored speculation. After six years of seclusion, it appears North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has decided it's time to get out and see the world.

Kim Jong Un's predecessors, grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Il, both promised not to pursue nuclear weapons but secretly maintained programs to develop them, culminating in the North's first nuclear test in 2006 under Kim Jong Il.

"North Korea likely wants to confirm its relationship with China and believes it has some leverage with which it can ask for things from China", said Yoo Ho-yeol, Professor of North Korean studies at Seoul's Korea University.

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