The leaders of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea met for a third time in three months. This comes as Seoul and Washington suspend military drills scheduled for August. It’s all part of renewed efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un’s trip comes as Beijing takes steps to strengthen its role as a mediator between Washington and Pyongyang. Beijing is claiming it has compelling security and economic interests in the region.
President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan welcomed Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju to the Great Hall of the People. Xi and Kim also inspected an honor guard together.
According to Chinese domestic media reports, Kim thanked Xi for his support, telling him he “hopes to work with China and other concerned parties to promote and establish a solid, long-lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
Kim was also expected to brief Xi on his talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last week. Xi told Kim he hopes Pyongyang and Washington can carry out the results of their historic summit, and Seoul welcomed the meeting.
“The governments of South Korea and China share the same strategic goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. Also, our government hopes China will play a constructive role in resolving this problem. We hope Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit will contribute to that,” said Noh Kyu-duk of the South Korean Foreign Ministry.
On Monday, Seoul and Washington announced they are suspending plans for their annual August military drills. Last week, President Trump appeared to surprise some in the region by announcing he was willing to suspend the exercises as long as Kim was “engaging in good faith negotiations” on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said regional defense remains a priority, and Pyongyang will be expected to live up to its recent commitments.
“Regarding the South Korea-U.S. joint defense, both countries are preparing diligently without any trouble and will continue to do so. Also, about the issue of North Korea, we are expecting corresponding measures as we decided to suspend joint drills,” said Choi Hyun-soo of the South Korean Defense Ministry.
Last year, more than 17,000 American and more than 50,000 South Korean troops participated in the August training. As of now, that’s the only round of joint drills to be suspended. Decisions on subsequent training will be made at a future date.
Brian Becker on Xi-Kim meeting and diplomacy for the Korean Peninsula
To discuss the implications of Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping’s Beijing meeting, CGTN’s Elaine Reyes talked with Brian Becker. He’s the Executive Director of the Answer Coalition, an anti-war and social justice organization.