17:43 GMT03 December 2020
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    On Tuesday it was confirmed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing from March 25-28.

    The visit, which comes ahead of Kim's summit with US President Donald Trump later this year, is being marked as Kim's first known journey outside of the DPRK since he took office in 2011.

    "China sticks to the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability and solving problems through dialogue and consultation," local outlets reported Xi saying. "This is a strategic choice and the only right choice both sides have made based on history and reality, the international and regional structure and the general situation of China-DPRK ties. This should not and will not change because of any single event at a particular time." DPRK is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of the socialist state.

    ​Speaking to Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, noted that the meeting was an indicator of good things to come.

    "The current peace process that has been taking place between the two Koreas [initially] sidelined China, but this was an important step that showed China is an important player… it's also an indication of restoring a strained relationship between China and North Korea," Chun told show hosts John Kiriakou and Walter Smolarek. "Now the summit meeting between Donald Trump and the North Korean leader is going to be more certain than ever."

    "[The meeting] shows Kim Jong Un in his first debut as an international leader and I think that it also tries to show legitimacy… having China's blessing is very, very important. The meeting will only strengthen the current peace process," Chun added.

    Smolarek later asked: could China's move to strengthen ties with North Korea be in response to the recent trade measures initiated by the Trump administration?

    For Chun, it's a bit of a yes and no situation as there's nothing concrete to prove China held the meeting to get back at the US' roughly $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports.

    However, Chun later told Kiriakou that as long as China is offering it's support, talks between North Korea and the US would end on a positive note.

    "I think that with China's support we'll probably end up in a step-by-step approach," she predicted. "I doubt that an immediate sort of big bang approach that involves a peace treaty [will happen]."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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