North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in China on Monday for a three-day visit at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Xinhua reported on Tuesday. A spokesperson of the International Department of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee said that Kim’s visit would last till January 10.
Kim left for China on a private train on Monday afternoon, reported state-run KCNA news agency. He was accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and senior North Korean officials. “He was warmly seen off by leading officials of the party, government and armed forces organs at the railway station,” it said.
The visit comes amid reports that negotiations are underway for a second summit between Kim and United States President Donald Trump aimed at denuclearising the Korean peninsula, Reuters reported.
This will be the fourth summit between Kim and Xi. Kim held three summits last year with Xi before and after summits with Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
A green train with a yellow stripe, similar to the one Kim took to Beijing last year, arrived at a station in the Chinese capital on Tuesday morning amid tight security. But it was not immediately clear if Kim, his wife, and officials were aboard. A motorcade with heavy security later drove through central Beijing.
“Kim is eager to remind the Trump administration that he does have diplomatic and economic options besides what Washington and Seoul can offer,” said Harry J Kazianis, Director of Defence Studies at the US-based Center for National Interest.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday praised China for supporting the resolution of the North Korean crisis and said he did not think it would be affected by the trade dispute with Beijing.
Kim’s visit came as an American delegation opened a round of talks with China in an attempt to end a trade war between the countries. “The Chinese have been very clear to us that these are separate issues,” Pompeo said. “China has actually been a good partner in our efforts to reduce the risk to the world from North Korea’s nuclear capability; I expect they will continue to do so.”