Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Kim Jong Un's motorcade heads out on day 2 of China trip

Kim Jong Un's motorcade heads out on day 2 of China trip

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left Beijing after talking and dining with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to South Korean media, in a show of unity as they engage in delicate negotiations with President Donald Trump's administration. It wasn't clear from the reports if Kim was in back in the North, but his train presumably would arrive sometime Thursday.

During the visit, the North Korean leader met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and visited a pharmaceutical factory in southern Beijing, in addition to a high-tech economic development zone.

The visit was Kim Jong Un's fourth to North Korea's primary diplomatic and economic ally since a year ago, and raises speculation that Kim was coordinating with China ahead of a possible second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

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

While Mr. Trump says he considers Xi key to enticing Kim into taking concrete steps toward denuclearization, the president's own relationship with his Chinese counterpart has frayed over the U.S.

Kim left for China on a private train on Monday afternoon accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and senior North Korean officials, including Kim Yong Chol, a key negotiator in talks with the United States, and foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency said.

Kim's visit also comes after he expressed frustration in his annual New Year's address over the lack of progress in negotiations with Washington since the Singapore summit with Trump in June, saying that if things don't improve - meaning that if sanctions relief and security guarantees aren't in the offing -Pyongyang might have to find "a new way" forward.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said North Korea should take bold steps towards denuclearisation, such as abandoning long-range missiles, to extract United States concessions amid a prolonged stalemate in their nuclear negotiations.

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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.

Kim's trip to China - his fourth in the past 10 months - is believed to be an effort to co-ordinate with Beijing ahead of a possible second summit with Trump. "The weight of North Korea is limited and can not play a decisive role", he said.

Pyongyang needed to take "bold, practical measures for denuclearisation" to ensure sanctions are lifted, he told reporters, but added that "corresponding measures" were also needed from the U.S., such as agreeing a "peace regime" and formally declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

During his trip to Beijing, Xi hosted a dinner reception for Kim on Tuesday night, the 35th birthday of the North Korean leader.

"The second summit would be a venue where they settle on terms of what specific measures North Korea will take and how those moves will be reciprocated by the United States", Mr Moon told a news conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul. While there have been reports of easier inspections at the North Korean border, China has denied that it's relaxing pressure on the regime.

The visit coincided with trade talks between Chinese and United States officials.

Xinhua quoted Mr Xi as saying he hoped that North Korea and the United States could meet each other half way and that the worldwide community expected peaceful negotiations.

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