Xi-Kim Meeting in Beijing
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
It was Kim Jong-un’s first foreign visit since becoming North Korean leader in 2011, fittingly to meet with China’s Xi Jinping – called an unofficial visit from March 25 – 28, Kim accepting Xi’s invitation.
Together with officials from both countries, both leaders vowed to hold “frequent high-level exchanges,” strengthening bilateral communications at all levels, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.
The DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency said Kim extended an invitation to Xi to visit Pyongyang.
Xi stressed that a strong bilateral relationship is “a strategic choice and the only right choice for the sides to make based on history and reality,” adding:
“This should not and will not change because of any single event at a particular time.”
The visit comes at a time of deteriorated bilateral relations over the nuclear issue.
It precedes a late April inter-Korean summit at the DMZ/Panmunjom border Peace House, a historic reconciliation venue – followed by a Kim/Trump summit, perhaps in May.
According to Seoul-based research fellow at Yonsei Institute of North Korean Studies Boo Seung-chan, “Kim knows that the US and South Korea would never agree to the withdrawal of US troops, so he may take the dovish line of changing the nature of US troops, so they no longer target the North.”
“He wants his ally, China, to be part of the assurance deal so as to ensure his (country’s) survival.”
Following the meeting between both leaders, a statement expressed their mutual commitment to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.
It was an important meeting, a step toward mending frayed ties, along with Kim wanting a Chinese ally ahead of talks with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in and Trump.
How things play out with hawkish extremists Mike Pompeo at State and John Bolton as national security advisor is a matter of great concern – both officials militantly hostile to Pyongyang, perhaps undermining Kim/Trump talks by influencing unacceptable demands on the DPRK.
China’s Global Times struck an upbeat tone, calling the Xi/Kim meeting “a new chapter in friendly China-North Korea relations,” adding:
“Despite trials and hardships, the basic elements of friendly China-North Korea ties are solid and unshakable.”
Xi wants friendly ties with Kim. Otherwise an invitation to visit Beijing wouldn’t have been extended – likely followed by a reciprocal visit to Pyongyang ahead.
Both leaders want war on the peninsula avoided. A strong bilateral relationship is a step in the right direction.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”