Kim Jong Un Goes To China

Kim Jong Un Goes To China

Kim Jong Un Goes To China

Kim flew to Dalian in May and Beijing in June for his second and third meetings with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and to Singapore - on board a borrowed Chinese airliner - for his June summit with US President Donald Trump.

Increased security at the border crossing of Dandong had tipped off South Korean media that Kim was likely headed back for another meeting with Xi Jinping.

The North Korean leader is in China until January 10, with his wife Ri Sol-ju.

The surprise visit, widely seen to be yet another counsel-seeking mission by Mr Kim in preparation for his anticipated second meeting with United States President Donald Trump, comes as USA trade representatives are in town for talks aimed at resolving a trade dispute between the two economic giants that has rattled global markets for months.

After years of cool relations following Mr Kim's assumption of power 2011, ties have improved remarkably over the past year as Mr Xi seeks to maintain his influence in the region. Moon has expressed hopes for another meeting with Kim soon, ideally held in Seoul to fulfill Kim's promise to pay a historic visit to the South Korean capital.

"Kim is eager to remind the Trump administration that he does have diplomatic and economic options besides what Washington and Seoul can offer", Harry J. Kazianis, Director of Defence Studies at the US -based Centre for the National Interest, said in an e-mailed statement.

Kim may be trying to get a "temperature check" of China's support for sanctions against North Korea, said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, according to the South China Morning Post. Both visited China and South Korea six years after inheriting power, with the elder Kim creating what Sung-Yoon Lee, a Korea expert at The Fletcher School at Tufts University in the US, characterized as " a dramatic mood swing in Northeast Asia" - a plan Kim Jong Un appears set on emulating.

South Korea's Yonhap, without identifying its sources, said the two leaders held talks for an hour in which they discussed the second U.S. But 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 an interview with CNBC on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised China's support for resolving the North Korean crisis and said he did not think the U.S. trade dispute with China would affect this.

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Kim's trip, announced earlier by both sides, comes after US and North Korean officials are thought to have met in Vietnam to discuss the site of a second summit.

His visit to Beijing, which is stated to be closest ally of Pyongyang, comes at a time when China itself is locked in a trade war with the United States over Trump's demand to reduce the Dollars 375 billion trade deficit with the US.

Tuesday also happens to be the North Korean leader's birthday. The two met again in May and June, just ahead of and just after Kim's June 12 summit with Trump in Singapore.

Mr Kim's trip comes as the U.S. and North Korea look to settle the North's decades-long pursuit of a nuclear arsenal.

Washington is demanding Pyongyang give up its nuclear arsenal before any relief from economic sanctions is granted, while the North is insisting on immediate concessions from the US.

"It certainly has hurt the Chinese economy", Ross told CNBC, adding that China exports many more goods to the U.S. than the other way around. When asked whether North Korean officials would meet with US officials during their visit, he said the delegations were at different levels.

But despite a cooling of relations previous year with China over the imposition of sanctions, China has and remains its most important economic and diplomatic ally.

Washington and Pyongyang seemed close to war at points during 2017, as the North staged a series of increasingly powerful weapons tests that got it tantalisingly close to its nuclear goal of one day targeting with pinpoint accuracy anywhere on the U.S. mainland. "China has actually been a good partner in our efforts to reduce the risk to the world from North Korea's nuclear capability".

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