State broadcaster China Central Television has shown Chinese President Xi Jinping welcoming North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on a visit to Beijing.
CCTV showed Kim in talks with Xi on Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Experts have said Kim is expected to discuss his next steps with Chinese leaders after last week’s nuclear summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Kim’s two-day visit to Beijing, while expected, is one way for China to highlight its crucial role in U.S. efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. The U.S. has long looked to China to use its influence with North Korea to bring it to negotiations, but the visit comes as ties between Beijing and Washington are being tested by a major trade dispute.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s current visit to China highlights the “constructive role” Beijing could play in North Korea’s nuclear disarmament.
Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said Tuesday that Seoul and Beijing share a “strategic goal” in achieving the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula and that progress in nuclear diplomacy has facilitated high-level contacts between North Korea and its neighbors.
He did not provide a straightforward answer when asked whether Beijing notified Seoul of Kim’s trip in advance.
Noh also downplayed concerns that improved relations between China and North Korea could result in China loosening its sanctions against the North, saying that Beijing has repeatedly stated its commitment to U.N. Security Council resolutions against North Korea.
Kim is making a two-day visit to Beijing, where he is expected to discuss with Chinese leaders his next steps after his nuclear summit with President Donald Trump last week.