Putting aside decades of mistrust and enmity behind, the US and North Korea are now apparently on the fast-track towards friendship. Leaders from the two countries have already hailed historic talks held between them in Singapore on Tuesday and are now gearing up for more. In all of this, China's role has been significant even if away from the limelight.
Security analysts the world over believe that China played a key role in ensuring the summit meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un - two men who had called each other names as recently as last year. The US President and North Korea's Supreme Leader smiled, shook hands, walked side-by-side and eventually signed a document which promised to bring an end to nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. Chinese security analysts and scholars were quick to highlight that the developments on Singapore's Sentosa Island were on the lines of what Beijing had expected. "China has not made any losses here," Deng Yuwen, a political analyst based out of Beijing, told South China Morning Post. "It is also a goal of China’s to seek denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula, and without a clear timetable or any specific measures to dismantle nuclear weapons in North Korea, Washington will need Beijing if it wants to apply more pressure to Pyongyang."
It is a view that has many takers around the world.
Many have highlighted that while the document signed by both Trump and Kim is indeed commendable, it is also rather vague. Especially when it comes to North Korea's denuclearisation commitment. The absence of CVID - complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation - from the document is being seen as a masterstroke by Kim, at least in North Korea.
Nonetheless, a start towards peace has been made and the role of Beijing in the final outcome may be significant. "So far, the Korean peninsula issues are developing mostly in the direction China is hoping for – and after the Kim-Trump summit in Singapore, China’s role will definitely be bigger," said Chung In-moon - special advisor to South Korean President Moon Jae-in - in a column for a Chinese media agency.
That North Korea considers itself close to China is widely known. That China uses North Korea as a bargaining chip in international diplomatic circles is widely suspected. The promise of peace for Koreas is widely hoped for but it is also widely felt that it would take more than just the US and North Korea to decide the final outcome.