China backs second Kim-Trump summit

A train believed to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leaves Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, China, January 9, 2019, in this still image taken from Reuters TV footage.Image copyright

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A train believed to be carrying the North Korean leader departs Beijing Railway Station on Wednesday

After his 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.

‘Concern’ over denuclearisation

North Korean’s official KCNA agency similarly echoed that 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.

The report said Mr Kim expressed “concern” over the lack of progress towards denuclearisation but that Pyongyang’s “basic position of pursuing a peaceful resolution through dialogue remains unchanged”.

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.

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Mr Trump and Mr Kim met in Singapore last year

Mr Kim made what is believe 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.

Diplomatic progress between Mr Trump and Mr Kim has stalled since the historic Singapore summit in June.

Both parties signed a pledge at the time to denuclearise the Korean peninsula, though it was not clear what this would entail.

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