Sunday, 25 August, 2019

What China, North Korea are looking to achieve with summit

Xinhua News Agency Chinese President Xi Jinping right poses with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for China’s Xi to meet Kim Jong Un in North Korea
Patty Aguilar | 19 June, 2019, 11:26

China's state media announced on Monday that President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to North Korea this week.

Pyongyang Soju began to be manufactured at the Taedong River Foodstuffs Factory, after former leader Kim Jong Il ordered the construction of the plant in September 2009, DPRK Today stated.

Despite the series of meetings between Mr Xi and Mr Kim, relations between China and North Korea have also been tested in recent years, after Beijing joined the US-led effort to impose tough economic sanctions on Pyongyang, part of an global response to North Korea's nuclear and weapons programme.

China and North Korea have worked to improve relations in the past year after they deteriorated as Beijing backed a series of United Nations sanctions against its Cold War-era ally over its nuclear activities.

Another Chinese official Song Tao, head of the International Department of the ruling Communist Party of China, said Xi's visit to North Korea is of great significance for efforts to build on past successes to further advance bilateral relationship.

Still, Zhao noted that playing the North Korea card in trade talks with the USA and threatening to undermine the nuclear negotiations would not be in China's interests. "However, China will not unilaterally start to ease sanctions".

"I hope that this visit will contribute to the early resumption of talks on the complete denuclearisation of and the establishment of permanent peace on the Korean peninsula", a spokeswoman for South Korean President Moon Jae-in said upon learning of Xi's trip.

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A summit in Vietnam in February between Kim and President Donald Trump failed after the USA rejected North Korea's request for extensive relief from United Nations sanctions in exchange for dismantling its main nuclear complex, a partial disarmament step.

Trump has accused China of slowing down the denuclearization process with North Korea.

With Beijing and Washington at loggerheads over trade, China is keen to remind Trump of its influence in Pyongyang, with whom his nuclear negotiations - a point of pride for the United States president, who faces an election next year - are also at a deadlock. Xi could thus use the trip as a "bargaining chip" in the US-China trade war, he added. Though Xi visited North Korea in 2008, he was China's vice president at that time.

In Beijing's case, the U.S.

"You said "China may use this visit as leverage on US".

According to Zhao, doing so "would backfire because China has less leverage than the United States in the trade negotiations". Kim recently sent a letter to Trump that the USA president called "beautiful", a development that experts say show Kim's intention to maintain good relations with Trump.

Xi will likely do that, but could also urge Kim to show a stronger commitment to dialogue and refrain from provocations like weapons tests, Wi said. The summit failed to yield any results to end the deadlock over denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

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