Kim Jong-un leaves China with 'backing for second Trump summit'
Mr Kim was
greeted with a welcome ceremony at Beijing's Great Hall of
surprise visit to China, North
Korean leader Kim Jong-un left
with backing for a possible
second summit with US President
Donald Trump, state media said.
Mr Trump and Mr Kim first met last June, but progress
over denuclearisation has since stalled.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said he hoped the two
leaders "meet each other halfway", Xinhua news agency reported
China is the North's main ally and key trade partner.
Mr Xi said China supported North Korea and the US
"holding summits and achieving results, and supports relevant parties
resolving their respective legitimate concerns through dialogue".
He also said China would be ready to play a "positive
and constructive role" towards maintaining peace and achieving
denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula, reported Xinhua.
Mr Kim made what is believed to be his first official
trip outside North Korea to China last year, even before meeting South
Korea's President Moon and Mr Trump. The recent visit is Mr Kim's fourth
to China in less than a year.
believed to be carrying the North Korean leader departs
Beijing Railway Station on Wednesday
During his three-day visit to China, Mr Kim and his
wife Ri Sol-ju were welcomed by Mr Xi and his wife with a banquet and an
art performance. He also visited a pharmaceutical plant specialising in
The trip is believed to have taken place over Mr Kim's
Mr Xi accepted an offer to visit North Korea, state
media said. It is still unclear when this would take place.
'Concern' over denuclearisation
Mr Kim had said in his annual new year's speech in
January that he remained committed to denuclearisation, but warned that
he would change course if US sanctions remained.
According to North Korean's official KCNA agency China
supported the North's position.
"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," it said, using the
official country name the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
It is not clear when or where a possible second
Kim-Trump summit would take place, though South Korean president Moon
Jae-in has said it will happen "soon".
Mr Moon, who has over the past year played mediator
between North Korea and the US, said at a news conference on Thursday
that Seoul would cooperate with the US in resolving the issue of
sanctions on North Korea.
Mr Trump and
Mr Kim met in Singapore last year
There has been little progress made between the US and
North Korea since the historic Singapore summit in June - the first ever
meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president.
Both parties signed a pledge at the time 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
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.
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