Kim Jong Un Visits China … Again

KCNA/via Reuters

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has visited the Chinese port city of Dalian for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese state-run media confirmed Tuesday.

A suspected North Korean plane arrived in Dalian in Northeast China Monday, leading many observers to speculate that Kim might be on board. The aircraft was apparently carrying the North Korean leader. His latest trip marks his second trip to China in as many months.

“Xi held talks with Kim and hosted a welcome banquet for him,” the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. “Together, they also took a stroll and attended a luncheon. In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the top leaders of the two parties and the two countries had an all-round and in-depth exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and major issues of common concern.”

“Xi said he was willing to meet Kim again to make joint efforts to push the healthy and stable development of China-DPRK relations, realize long-lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and promote regional peace, stability and prosperity,” China’s CGTN reported.

Kim made a secret visit to Beijing in late March, meeting the Chinese president for the first time. The meeting was intended to improve strained bilateral relations between China and North Korea. The young leader met South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the DMZ in April to discuss the future of the Korean Peninsula and possibilities for better inter-Korean ties.

Before his trip in March, Kim had never met another head of state as the leader of North Korea.

Another trip to China could indicate that Kim is trying to sure up connections to North Korea’s partners, especially its traditional ally, ahead of the summit with President Donald Trump, which could be held next month, possibly in Singapore. His trips abroad also help to reshape his image, presenting him as a deft statesman rather than a madman with nuclear weapons.

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