Kim Jong Un on way to China for summit

Posted January 09, 2019

President Moon attended three rounds of inter-Korean summit held on April 27 and May 26 past year at Panmunjeom, North Korea and on September 18 to 20 at Pyongyang, North Korea to meet with Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

A whirlwind of diplomacy enveloped the Korean peninsula previous year, with Kim also meeting the South's President Moon Jae-in three times, and culminating in his high-profile Singapore summit with Trump in June.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in China Tuesday to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, just days after ushering in the new year with a warning that his country may take an alternative path should the United States not ease economic sanctions, Reuters reported.

Kim's trip to Beijing this week follows three visits to China past year, a sign ties may be improving, but the relationship remains complicated.

China's official Xinhua news agency also confirmed that Kim is visiting from Monday to Thursday at Xi's invitation.

A three-car North Korean train pulled into Beijing Railway station Tuesday morning shortly after China's Xinhua News Agency confirmed Kim would be visiting the country January 7-10.

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In May 2018, Trump once chose to cancel his planned talks with Kim, saying he detected North Korea starting to take a tougher stance against the United States in the wake of the second summit between Beijing and Pyongyang earlier in the month.

"Under mounting pressure from sanctions, North Korea should make a decision whether to reconcile with the USA or take a new path with China", said Ahn Chan-il, a former North Korean military officer and president of the World Institute for North Korea Studies.

Kim's statement about how he might have to choose a "new way" to guarantee the North's sovereignty and secure a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula caught the eye of many foreign analysts.

"As to whether this is used as a bargaining chip by China in trade talks, I believe more Americans would think so than Chinese do", the tweet went on to say.

The officials, North Korea said, wished him "good successes in his visit to China and a safe trip".

"Underlying everything is the fact that North Korea resents being so dependent on Beijing and China wishes North Korea would be a more pliable, less provocative vassal state that embraces the Chinese model of economic reform", Oba said.

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Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, today quoted an unnamed expert saying that Mr Kim's "visit to China at the beginning of 2019 indicates Kim's trust in China".

Professor Hazel Smith told the Business Insider it was "not very surprising" that the country was not marking Kim's birthday.

"Their behaviour has demonstrated that as well and we appreciate that", Pompeo said.

The last senior North Korean diplomat known to have defected is Thae Yong Ho, a former minister at the North Korean Embassy in London, who fled to South Korea in 2016.

Kim and Trump - two leaders who both take a top-down approach to leadership - have much to discuss, given that the two forged apparently amicable relations in Singapore last June, and both Kim and Trump have publicly praised one another since.

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