Kim Jong Un Leaves Beijing after Brief Visit

Kim Jong Un Leaves Beijing after Brief Visit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves from his train before it departs from Pyongyang to make the trip to Beijing, China, Jan. 7, 2019.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed "concern" about the deadlock in denuclearisation discussions in his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pyongyang's state media reported Thursday.

During the North Korean leader's visit to China, he had a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, and visited a pharmaceutical factory in southern Beijing, in addition to a high-tech economic development zone.

Kim and Trump pledged to work towards denuclearisation at their landmark June summit in Singapore, but the agreement was short on specifics.

As for the North, which is in dire need of economic development, China's support is even more crucial due to the stalled talks with Washington.

North Korea wants relief from the multiple sets of sanctions imposed on it over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, while the United States wants the measures to remain in place until it gives up its arms - something Pyongyang has made no public promise to do.

Relations between China and North Korea had deteriorated in recent years over Pyongyang's nuclear activities, but Kim has made sure to keep Xi informed about his dealings with the United States and South Korea as ties appear to have warmed.

Xi "spoke highly of the positive measures taken by the DPRK side", it added.

Pyongyang has rejected demands for what it calls its "unilateral" disarmament as "gangster-like".

China is the North's main ally and key trade partner.

Asian shares rally on hopes for China-US trade breakthrough
The temporary trade-war ceasefire came after the two sides imposed import duties on more than $300 billion of each other's goods. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said there is "a very good chance" that the United States and China will reach a trade agreement.

While Kim was in China, Xi's government was in talks with a visiting US delegation over a trade war that has been extracting a financial cost on the world's two biggest economies.

According to North Korean's official KCNA agency China supported the North's position.

Kim reportedly said North Korea 'will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between (North Korean) and USA leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the worldwide community'.

Thus, it's highly likely Kim has pledged to continue exchanges with China in various sectors outside the framework of worldwide sanctions, . while intensifying strategic solidarity with his Chinese counterpart to push the offer some form of sanctions relief. He said Beijing remains supportive of efforts to end tensions over US demands for a halt to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

In a New Year speech, Mr 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.

The visit coincided with trade talks between Chinese and U.S. officials. Analysts say China could use the North Korean issue as a bargaining chip in the negotiations, but Beijing's foreign ministry rejected any link between Kim's trip and the talks.

Our Kim Hyo-sun takes a closer look at the implications of Kim's trip to Beijing.

Xi and first lady Peng Liyuan later hosted a dinner for Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, which lasted four hours.

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.

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