The mysterious green train that rolled into Beijing Monday to much speculation was, in fact, carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Chinese state media confirmed.
The surprise visit to neighboring China marks Kim’s first trip abroad since he took power after the death of his father in 2011. Kim, who was accompanied by his wife Ri Sol Ju, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday (local time). North Korean state media and radio also confirmed the visit.
Kim and his wife were unofficially invited by Chinese leadership.
Amazing. It was Kim Jong-un. pic.twitter.com/5DhJchtiHH
— Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) March 28, 2018
While ties between Beijing and Pyongyang have been strained in recent years, the two leaders stressed the need for greater bilateral exchange and communication — each emphasizing the importance of the relationship between China and North Korea. Kim and Xi also discussed developments on the Korean Peninsula, expressing satisfaction with recent changes.
During the meeting, Kim told the Chinese leader he is serious about denuclearization, committed to improving relations between the two Koreas, and eager to engage the U.S. in dialogue, according to Chinese media. These media reports indicate Kim is, despite weeks of silence, interested in meeting with U.S. leadership, confirming the earlier reports from a few South Korean diplomats who recently met with the young North Korean leader in Pyongyang.
“The issue of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim reportedly told Xi.
The Chinese president will reportedly visit Pyongyang at the invitation of the North Korean leader. While preparations are still underway, Kim is expected to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump in the near future.
“The Chinese government contacted the White House earlier on Tuesday to brief us on Kim Jong Un’s visit to Beijing,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders revealed to reporters Tuesday evening. “The briefing included a personal message from President Xi to President Trump, which has been conveyed to President Trump.”
“We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea,” she added.
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