North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-Un is currently in Beijing for a two-day confidential meeting with top Chinese officials from June 19 to 20 (Tuesday and Wednesday), reported Chinese state media. This unexpected trip comes days after the historic US-Korea Summit, where the North Korean met President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.
“Kim Jong-un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, visits China from June 19 to 20,” informed Chinese news agency Xinhua.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) June 19, 2018
This will be Kim's third visit to China this year. He earlier traveled to Beijing in March and northeastern city of Dalian in May.
While the exact nature of the trip is unknown, sources claim that the North Korean leader is seeking relief from economic sanctions in return for his pledge of denuclearisation.
During the Singapore summit last week, Kim signed a landmark document that made North Korea commit to denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula. Hailing the outcome of the summit, Trump took to Twitter to highlight the points agreed upon. "The World has taken a big step back from potential Nuclear catastrophe! No more rocket launches, nuclear testing or research! The hostages are back home with their families. Thank you to Chairman Kim, our day together was historic!," he wrote.
While China was not a direct player in the negotiations, but sources claim it maintains a strong behind-the-scenes influence.
Kim, it seems, has been trying to mend the relations between the two neighbouring nations.
On Friday, June 15, for the first time in five years, Kim sent a letter and flowers to Chinese President Xi Jinping on his 65th birthday.
Relations between the two neighboring countries began to worsen in 2013 after Kim executed his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, the then number two of the regime and who had close ties with Beijing and pushed ahead with country`s third nuclear test that same year.
China then joined the international initiative led by the US to impose sanctions on North Korea, which further worsened the North`s ties with Beijing.
Relations between the two countries began to take a positive turn in 2018 in the current framework of detente with North Korea and, above all, after the two summits between Kim and Xi held in March and April.
With agency inputs