After his much-talked about visit to China, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un leaves China with a possible second face-to-face dialogue with US President Donald Trump.
China is Kim Jong-un’ major supporter and a principal trade collaborator.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is hoping that the two leaders will “meet each other halfway,” as Mr. Xi said China has supported North Korea and the US in “holding summits and achieving results, and supports relevant parties resolving their respective legitimate concerns through dialogue.” He also added that the Chinese government is willing and ready to play a “positive and constructive role” towards maintaining peace and achieving ‘denuclearisation’ on the Korean peninsula.
In his New Year’s message, Mr. Kim reiterated his resolve to remain committed to denuclearisation, however, the North Korean leader warned that he would change course if US sanctions remained. This position is being supported by China.
Xi Jinping said that “the legitimate issues raised by the DPRK are rightful demands and that he fully agrees that the DPRK’s reasonable interests should be justly resolved.”
There is no definite date or location for the possible second Kim-Trump summit, though South Korean president Moon Jae-in says it will happen very “soon.”
According to Mr. Moon, the mediator between North Korea and the US, Seoul will cooperate with the US in resolving the issue of sanctions on North Korea.
Little progress has been made between the US and North Korea since the celebrated Singapore summit last June, the very first meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president.
Both parties vowed to denuclearise the Korean peninsula, though it was never made clear what this would entail. Pyongyang wants Washington to lift the sanctions the United Nations imposes on the country because of its nuclear and missile programmes.
North Korea argues that the US needs to match the steps it has taken towards denuclearisation, namely dismantling a nuclear testing site and a key missile engine facility.