China’s and North Korea’s rulers spoke in North Korea’s capital on Thursday, anticipated to be on the agenda with stalled nuclear talks with Washington.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were sitting in Pyongyang for talks, said China’s official news agency Xinhua, but did not provide information.
Earlier, at an enormous arrival ceremony at Pyongyang airport, Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan and senior Chinese officials were welcomed with a 21-gun greeting.
According to Xinhua, there were about 10,000 individuals in tight formation, waving flowers and chanting slogans to welcome Xi Jinping. The visiting delegation met at the airport with Kim Jong-un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju.
Xi Jinping, who is visiting North Korea for two days, is the first Chinese leader to visit North Korea in fourteen years.
The summit emerges as both Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un are locked up in distinct conflicts with the U.S. — Xi Jinping on trade and Kim Jong-un on atomic weapons.
A commentary from Xinhua said that China could play a distinctive and constructive part in breaking the cycle of mistrust between North Korea and the US in order to work out a roadmap for denuclearization.
The US is calling for North Korea to abandon its creation of nuclear weapons before lifting international sanctions. North Korea is seeking a step-by-step approach in which a US concession, particularly a relaxation of economic sanctions, would match a step towards its denuclearization.
China supports what it calls a proposition to “suspend for suspension.” Xinhua said that both parties “need sensible expectations and avoid unilateral and unrealistic requests.”
A former North Korean diplomat who defected in 2016 said he believes that Kim Jong-un will give Xi Jinping a signal to be delivered to President Donald Trump when the two meet at the G-20 summit in Japan next week.
The Yong Ho said Kim Jong-un could give some sort of compromise to set up a third summit with the US president on his nuclear equipment. But he warned that such a move would be just buying time and not denuclearizing. The spoke at a Tokyo news conference while supporting his book’s Japanese translation.
Talks between the US and North Korea have been stalled since the second summit of Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump took place in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February. Experts say that Xi Jinping is likely to support North Korea’s call for an incremental process of disarmament. His meeting with Kim Jong-un would be their fifth summit since early last year Kim Jong unjoined nuclear diplomacy with the U.S. and South Korea.
A banner read at the airport welcome ceremony, “Long Live with Blood Formed Unity and Unbreakable Friendship,” said Xinhua.