China's Xi hopes United States, N. Korea will 'meet halfway'
11 January, 2019, 06:12 | Author: Lucy Floyd
Kim's trip to China, which was made at the invitation of Beijing, came amid speculation that a second summit between the North's leader and US President Donald Trump is imminent.
North Korea will "make efforts for the second summit between (North Korean) and US leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the global community", Kim was quoted as saying by China's official Xinhua News Agency. Kim couldn't be seen, but was presumed to be on board the long train as it crossed on elevated tracks over a busy Beijing street and headed toward eastern China and the border with North Korea.
Moon added that matters related to establishing peace and declaring the end of the Korean War can be considered as measures corresponding to Pyongyang's denuclearization steps, and that he hopes the differences in Pyongyang and Washington's views on the issues will be resolved through the second Trump-Kim meeting.
He also credited Chinese President Xi Jinping with helping reduce regional tensions, saying "the Korean Peninsula situation has been easing since past year, and China's important role in this process is obvious to all".
Moon's overture, however, has invited criticism from conservatives in South Korea and the United States that he's making too many concessions and helping the North weaken USA -led sanctions.
"We always believe that, as key parties to the Korean Peninsula issue, it's important for the two sides to maintain contact and we always support their dialogue to achieve positive outcomes", Lu said.
According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi said he hopes North Korea and the United States will "meet each other halfway".
North Korea wants relief from the multiple sets of sanctions imposed on it over its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, while the U.S. wants them to remain in place until it gives up its arms - something Pyongyang has made no public promise to do.
The fact that Kim's visit came at the same time USA negotiators were in China to discuss an end to the trade war is also unlikely to be a coincidence, said Sangsoo Lee, head of the Stockholm-based Korea Center at the Institute for Security and Development Policy, adding that there could "political intention" behind it.
China is the North Korea's sole major ally and key trade partner.
Kim "raised concern" about the impasse in talks with the United States, according to Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency, which said the Chinese leader had issued a ringing endorsement of the North's position. Kim's visit also marks the 70th anniversary of ties between Pyongyang and Beijing.
It said he met with Xi at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday after a welcoming ceremony.
Details of what Kim and Xi discussed have yet to be revealed, but their summit is seen as an opportunity to strategize ahead of a second North Korea-U.S. summit meant to move along denuclearization negotiations.
North Korea argues that the United States needs to match the steps it has taken towards denuclearisation, namely dismantling a nuclear testing site and a key missile engine facility.
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