Kim Jong Un arrives in China for his fourth visit in a year

Agency, 8 January : North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in China, North Korea’s main backer, as he sent mixed signals to the U.S. about his willingness to give up his nuclear weapons ahead of a possible second summit with President Trump.

Mr. Kim began his China visit on Monday at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping and plans to stay in the country through Thursday, official North Korean and Chinese news agencies reported early Tuesday. Mr. Kim traveled by train accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and senior officials, North Korean state media said.

His arrival in Beijing, which coincided with Mr. Kim’s birthday on Tuesday, comes as Pyongyang expresses increasing frustration at the U.S. approach in stalled denuclearization talks. North Korea relies on its larger neighbor for economic and diplomatic support but resents China for trying to leverage that aid to control Pyongyang.

In recent weeks, Pyongyang has threatened to resume building up its nuclear forces if the U.S. doesn’t ease sanctions—a step Washington has refused to take in the absence of concrete steps by North Korea to relinquish its arsenal. North Korea insists it has made significant concessions to improve relations, including dismantling some nuclear facilities, and says the U.S. needs to make the next move.

For Beijing, Mr. Kim’s visit comes amid tussling between the U.S. and China. Beijing and Washington on Monday opened their first face-to-face, working-level negotiations in months over major trade frictions. Also Monday, the U.S. sent a guided-missile destroyer sailing past contested islands in the South China Sea that are controlled by China. The move drew a rebuke from Beijing.

Mr. Kim was likely to discuss economic development with Chinese leaders in addition to denuclearization, said Guo Rui, an expert in Korean Peninsula security issues at China’s Jilin University. He noted that the North Korean leader had spoken at length about the economy in his New Year’s speech.

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6 months ago

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