North Korea’s Kim Jong Un arrives in Beijing for talks just days after ‘alternative path’ speech
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.
The planned four-day visit, which is the fourth summit in a year between Kim and Xi, was confirmed by North Korean and Chinese state media. The Kim-Xi meeting comes ahead of a likely second summit with President Donald Trump, afterthe two leaders met in Juneto discuss denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
Last year marked unprecedented progress in denuclearization talks, with Kim holding summits with Trump, Xi, andSouth Korean President Moon Jae-in. But despite a cooling of relations last year with China over the imposition of sanctions, China has and remains its most important economic and diplomatic ally.
Harry J. Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at U.S. based Center for the National Interest, said Kim’s overtures to China suggest he “is eager to remind the Trump administration that he does have diplomatic and economic options besides what Washington and Seoul can offer,” adding that his New Year’s Day speech may suggest a “veiled threat to move closer to Beijing.”