Xi & Kim agree to ‘jointly’ advance & steer the denuclearization of Korean peninsula

Kim arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for his fourth visit to Pyongyang´s sole major diplomatic friend

Kim arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for his fourth visit to Pyongyang´s sole major diplomatic friend

Moon, a liberal who took office in 2017, has shuttled between North Korea and the United States to facilitate high-profile nuclear diplomacy including the Kim-Trump summit in Singapore last June.

Kim visited Beijing by train this week for two days of talks that reasserted China's role in the process, and were seen as a strategy session ahead of a second summit between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump.

The US is refraining from negative comments on Kim's trip because China has been tough on the enforcement of United Nations sanctions against North Korea and trade talks with Beijing are going smoothly, said Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

He arrived in Beijing in his famed armored train early Tuesday morning and held meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Beyond confirming his presence in Beijing, there has been no detail provided from either the North Korean or Chinese side on his schedule.

The remarks by Moon, who has sought to bridge the divide between the US and North Korea, came about two hours after Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued statements expressing support for another meeting with Trump.

The recent visit is Mr Kim's fourth to China in less than a year.

"I don't think they believe it's impossible under President Trump. and this is one of drivers for Xi Jinping to keep Kim Jong Un close", Glaser said, noting that Xi reached out "very quickly" after Kim started engaging with Moon.

Shi Yinhong, an worldwide relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said Kim's trip would have no direct influence on the progress of trade talks.

Kim "came to Beijing at a critical juncture, when the ongoing Sino-US trade negotiations were poised to produce a breakthrough and the second summit between him and U.S. President Donald Trump is slated to take place soon", observed an op-ed in the Global Times.

China has played diplomatic wingman to North Korea, even loaning Kim an Air China jet to travel to his meeting with Trump in Singapore past year.

In the New Year speech, Kim focused on North Korea's moribund economy, saying that improving people's lives was his top priority and tackling energy shortages was an urgent task.

"North Korea knows it needs (to take) clear denuclearization steps to see worldwide sanctions lifted and the United States also realizes that reciprocal measures are needed to match these North Korean denuclearization steps", Moon said.

Some analysts say China could use its cooperation on the North Korean issue as a bargaining chip in the United States trade talks.

Mr Moon, who has over the past year played mediator between North Korea and the U.S., said at a news conference on Thursday that Seoul would cooperate with the USA in resolving the issue of sanctions on North Korea.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea to take firmer disarmament measures and the U.S.to reward them, suggesting Thursday he'll push for sanction exemptions to restart dormant economic cooperation projects with the North.

Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions, imposed because of its nuclear and missile tests, and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

Mr Xi said China supported North Korea and the U.S. "holding summits and achieving results, and supports relevant parties resolving their respective legitimate concerns through dialogue".

As Kim's armored train pulled into Beijing Railway Station on Tuesday, a few blocks away a USA trade delegation was hammering out differences with their Chinese counterparts in an effort to end the trade war between the two countries.

It said the Chinese leader had issued a ringing endorsement of the North's position.

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