Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Trump says will discuss trade, North Korea with China's Xi

Trump says will discuss trade, North Korea with China's Xi

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met and held important discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a surprise Wuhan-style informal summit in the northeastern port city of Dalian.

Previous agreements over North Korea's nuclear program - including the 1994 Agreed Framework and the 2005 Joint Statement from the Six Party Talks - also called for phased, incremental steps for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program alongside sanctions relief and normalization of relations with the United States.

"Xi Jinping reiterated China's position on the Korean Peninsula issue and emphasised that China supports the U.S. and [North Korea] leaders' meetings", according to the state-owned China News Service.

Kim was likely seeking guidance from the Chinese leader ahead of his high-profile summit with Trump, according to former British charge d'affaires to North Korea Jim Hoare.

The meeting was the latest in a series by North Korean leaders and follows Kim's historic summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month.

Trump, calling Xi "my friend", pledged in the post that "good things will happen" on trade. The official is believed to be greeting, or have greeted, the North Korean official.

Xi hosted a welcome banquet for Kim.

A passenger plane which was reportedly used for North Korean high-ranking officials, takes off from an airport in Dalian, China.

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Xi, meanwhile, said that "The teams of both sides can maintain communication and strive to find a solution to the problems that exist, so as to achieve mutually beneficial and win-win results", according to a report in Chinese state media.

"China is willing to continue to play an active role in realising the denuclearisation of the peninsula and the long-term stability of the region".

For his part, Kim could be trying to improve ties with Xi - which have been frosty, to put it mildly - in case his outreach to Trump falls flat, analysts say.

Kim held his first summit with Xi in March in Beijing, marking the first meeting since Kim took power in late 2011.

According to the Xinhua report, Kim said he made a decision to meet Xi again to "inform him of the situation, hoping to strengthen strategic communication and cooperation with China, deepen DPRK-China friendship, and promote regional peace and stability".

China and North Korea fought side by side in the Korean War (1950-53), and remain close, but relations have been strained since the start of Pyongyang's nuclear programme, which Beijing fears has raised tensions on its borders. The Trump administration has demanded that North Korea immediately commit to denuclearization. We are also impressed by the fact that Kim had his second summit with Xi in Dalian, where the first China-built aircraft carrier will embark on a test voyage later this month.

The US president suggested that the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea would be an excellent venue for the planned summit, but that Singapore was also a possible site.

Chinese internet users posting on social media described heavy security in the city and extensive flight delays on Monday.

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