NORTH KOREAN dictator Kim Jong Un has arrived in China on his third visit to the neighbouring country in three months, reported Chinese state media on Tuesday.
After meeting US President Donald Trump during a high-profile summit in Singapore last week, Kim is again in China for a two-day visit, according to state-run Global Times. On previous visits the Chinese press has only reported Kim’s visits after he had already left.
The North Korean leader will likely brief Chinese President Xi Jinping about the outcome of the summit, which resulted in a joint statement affirming a commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and suspend US-South Korean military exercises.
China has welcomed the warming of ties between the United States and North Korea, and offered to help. Beijing has been particularly pleased by Washington’s suspension of joint drills with Seoul.
“We hope this visit can help to further deepen China-North Korea relations, strengthen strategic communication between both countries on important issues and promote regional peace and stability,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a briefing.
Police tightened security along Beijing’s main Changan Avenue, which leads to the Great Hall of the People where Chinese leaders usually meet visiting heads of state, and also outside the Diaoyutai State Guest House, where Kim stayed with his wife during a visit in March.
South Korea’s foreign ministry spokesman said South Korea and China shared the strategic goal of completely denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
“Our government hopes China will play a constructive role in resolving this problem,” ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-deok told a regular briefing. “We hope Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit will contribute to that.”
China has long been one of the few diplomatic friends and trade partners of North Korea. Nevertheless, UN sanctions and hostile exchanges with the Trump administration have put strain on the relationship in recent times.
Kim last week flew to Singapore on an Air China plane rather than by private jet, sparking speculation he might visit Beijing before returning to Pyongyang.
Back in March, he made a surprise visit to China in what is thought to have been his first overseas travel since taking power in 2011.
Additional reporting from Reuters.