Visit to Beijing to strengthen Kim Jong-un’s position ahead of meeting with Trump — expert

MOSCOW, January 9. /TASS/. A new meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing was aimed at strengthening Kim’s position ahead of a possible summit with US President Donald Trump, Director of the Russian Strategy for Asia Center of the Institute of Economics at Russia’s Academy of Sciences Georgy Toloraya told TASS on Wednesday.

According to him, the meeting should be assessed in light of preparations for a possible summit between Kim Jong-un and Trump. “The second US-North Korea summit may take place in Vietnam. By receiving guarantees from China, Kim will significantly strengthen his position ahead of the meeting,” Toloraya said.

“My guess is that the meeting was held urgently because Kim Jong-un in his New Year’s address mentioned some “new path” the country could adopt if the United States refused to make concessions concerning the removal of sanctions during the denuclearization talks,” the expert went on to say. “Xi Jinping wanted to warn the North Korean leader against planning any provocations, urging him to show patience and take steps towards denuclearization in order to fulfill Washington’s demand and make it possible to implement the idea,” he added.

According to Toloraya, Kim Jong-un’s trip to Beijing and his meeting with Xi Jinping prove that the two leaders seek to emphasize close and warm relations between them. “The Chinese leader probably promised to support the process and facilitate the removal of tough sanctions,” he noted.

The expert added that the visit could have been aimed at achieving specific goals concerning Pyongyang’s relations with other countries. “The meeting did not make South Korea happy because Kim Jong-un had promised to visit Seoul before the end of the year but he seems to be in no hurry to fulfill this promise.”

Kim Jong-un made a visit to China on January 7. He arrived in Beijing together with his wife Ri Sol-ju, head of the United Front Work Department at the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Kim Yong-chol and Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho. The visit took place on January 8, the birthday of Kim Jong-un. The North Korean leader left the Chinese capital on January 9.

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