Archive for ‘Korean peninsula’

23/06/2019

Xi Jinping’s state visit to North Korea aims for ‘new impetus’ in ties

  • Stalled denuclearisation talks also expected to be on the agenda when Chinese president meets Kim Jong-un this week
  • Analysts say Korean peninsula has become intense diplomatic battleground between Beijing and Washington
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) attends a welcome ceremony in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping in January. Xi will begin a visit to Pyongyang on Thursday. Photo: AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) attends a welcome ceremony in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping in January. Xi will begin a visit to Pyongyang on Thursday. Photo: AP
Xi Jinping’s upcoming trip to 
North Korea

will be a state visit – a higher status than the last trip to the hermit kingdom by a Chinese president, highlighting the close bilateral ties between Beijing and Pyongyang.

Xi’s two-day trip, which 
begins on Thursday

, is the first by a Chinese president to North Korea in 14 years and comes just a week before he is due to meet US President Donald Trump for talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan.

“Leaders of the two countries will review the development of the bilateral relationship and carry out an in-depth exchange of opinions on the development of Sino-North Korean relations in the new era, and chart the future course of development,” state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.
Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, went to North Korea in October 2005 on a three-day trip described as an “official goodwill” visit.
Speaking at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Xi’s visit aimed to “inject new impetus” into relations in the year the two countries marked the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties, and to give stalled denuclearisation talks a much needed push.
“Regarding the progress on denuclearisation, as I said, the result of the Hanoi leaders’ meeting in February was indeed a little unexpected. But after that, everyone actually looks forward to the resumption of dialogue in a good direction,” Lu said, referring to the failed talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Vietnamese capital four months ago.

Trump hinted at the possibility of another meeting with Kim after receiving what he called “a beautiful letter” from the North Korean leader last week. On Tuesday, South Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator, Lee Do-hoon, said the US had been in contact with the North.

Life in North Korea the ‘admiration and envy’ of others, state media says

Washington will also send US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun to South Korea next week, days after Xi’s visit to Pyongyang, to fully align its position on North Korea with its ally.

Meanwhile, Trump confirmed he would meet Xi for talks in Osaka next week, saying in a tweet on Tuesday they had “a very good telephone conversation” and would hold “an extended meeting” at the G20 summit, where they are

expected to try to cool tensions

over an almost year-long trade war.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China. We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting.

Analysts said the Korean peninsula had become an intense diplomatic battleground between Beijing and Washington.
Cha Du-hyeogn, a visiting research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said China and the US were competing for influence over the peninsula.
“The US and China are seeking a greater sphere of influence in the region. After the Singapore summit between Trump and Kim last year, the US and North Korea are the only key players on peninsula matters. China may want to restore its influence and become a major player,” Cha said.
“But China is less likely to have a so-called strategic competition with the US – that is to say, it won’t challenge the US-led sanctions regime and its goal in achieving North Korea’s denuclearisation. In fact, it is likely to persuade Kim to come to the negotiating table for complete denuclearisation.”
Chinese tourists flood North Korea as Beijing remains Pyongyang’s key ally

Pyongyang has demanded the lifting of sanctions imposed on the regime following its nuclear and missile tests, while Beijing has said the livelihoods of North Koreans should not be affected. But Washington insists full sanctions should remain in place.

The US has also voiced scepticism about Chinese compliance with the sanctions. At a security summit in Singapore earlier this month, US acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan – who on Wednesday stepped down from his role 

amid domestic abuse claims

– presented his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe with photographs and satellite images of North Korean ships transferring oil near China’s coast.

Analysts said Xi would seek to use the visit to boost China’s diplomatic leverage on the North Korean nuclear front, strengthening its hand in dealing with the US.
Exports from North Korea to China, which account for the bulk of its trade, plunged 87 per cent last year from 2017, and the country has faced other economic problems at a time when Kim has vowed to deliver on the economy.
A diplomatic source said China was expected to offer a large amount of humanitarian assistance, such as food and fertiliser, to North Korea, which could weaken the impact of sanctions.

China’s goal of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula is unwavering and will not changeLu Chao, North Korean affairs expert at Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences

Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily on Tuesday said via its social media account that Xi would discuss economic and trade cooperation with Kim during the visit.

Quoting Zheng Jiyong, director of the Centre for Korean Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, the newspaper said Pyongyang had taken steps to reform its economy and introduced China’s industrial manufacturing blueprint.

In September, Beijing proposed building a rail link from the city of Dandong, in China’s northeastern Liaoning province, to Pyongyang and then on to Seoul and Busan in the South, as well as a new road between Dandong and Pyongyang through Sinuiju.

Lu Chao, a North Korean affairs expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said large-scale economic cooperation between China and North Korea was unlikely because of the sanctions, but smaller moves were possible.

Chinese tourists flood North Korea as Beijing remains Pyongyang’s key ally

“For example, China may export daily necessities to North Korea. And if it’s needed, China is very likely to provide [food] assistance to North Korea,” Lu said. “I believe the UN sanctions on North Korea should change, because it has shown a more substantive approach to [achieving] denuclearisation.”

But analysts said Beijing remained firm on the need for Pyongyang to honour its pledges so that denuclearisation could be achieved.

“China’s goal of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula is unwavering and will not change … China supports [North Korea] and the US continuing to hold talks,” Lu said.

Beijing also had an important part to play in the peace process, according to Boo Seung-chan, an adjunct professor at the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul.

“China can have a positive role as a mediator to facilitate the peace process on the Korean peninsula,” Boo said.

Source: SCMP

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19/06/2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping gives North Korean leader Kim Jong-un his full support

  • ‘Traditional friendship’ between two nations will continue whatever the future brings, Xi says ahead of two-day trip to Pyongyang
  • Visit comes amid rising tensions between Beijing and Washington, and stalled negotiations on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula
Chinese President Xi Jinping says China will continue to “firmly support” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping says China will continue to “firmly support” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged his full support for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and promised to play an active role in efforts to bring peace and stability to the region, a day ahead of his 
first ever state visit

to the reclusive nation.

Xi’s comments, in an editorial published by North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmunon Wednesday, come as China remains locked in a trade and technology war with the United States, and after a second summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim in Hanoi in February failed to achieve any progress on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
“No matter how the international situation changes”, China would “firmly support Chairman Kim Jong-un to lead the North Korean party and people to implement the new strategic line”, the article said.
As well as expressing the two sides’ desire to strengthen “strategic communication and exchanges”, Xi said Beijing would continue to support Pyongyang in its negotiations with other countries.
Xi Jinping (left) says China will “contribute to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region”. Photo: EPA-EFE
Xi Jinping (left) says China will “contribute to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region”. Photo: EPA-EFE

“We will actively contribute to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region by strengthening communication and coordination with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” he said, referring to the country by its official name.

China would also engage with other stakeholders “by jointly expediting progress on dialogue and negotiations on the issues of the Korean peninsula”, he said.

Xi’s state visit to North Korea aims for ‘new impetus’ in ties

Speaking ahead of Xi’s two-day trip to Pyongyang, which starts on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Tuesday that the outcome of the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi was “a little unexpected” and that China was encouraging both sides to continue their dialogue.

Trump said last week that he had received a “

beautiful letter

” from Kim that had “reset” the tone between the two countries. In May, he said Pyongyang was “not ready to negotiate”.

One of the major stumbling blocks in the negotiation process has been the United Nations sanctions. Pyongyang has stipulated that they should be lifted as a precondition of the denuclearisation process while Washington has insisted they should remain in place until North Korea provides clear evidence the process is under way.

China, meanwhile, has been accused of providing large amounts of humanitarian aid to its neighbour to help offset the impact of the sanctions.

Xi said China would continue to support North Korea in raising “legitimate concerns through dialogue”.

“No matter how the wind and clouds of the international situation change, our two parties and two peoples inherit and carry forward the traditional friendship between China and the DPRK,” he said.

Zhao Tong, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy, said that while the main aim of Xi’s visit was to reaffirm ties, its timing, amid the US-China dispute, was designed to show Beijing still had a role to play in the negotiations.

“As China-US strategic rivalry grows, China wants to maintain its geopolitical influence on the Korean peninsula. By demonstrating its unique relations with the DPRK at a time when neither Washington nor Seoul is able to resume high-level engagements with Pyongyang, Beijing is signalling to Washington that it is still a helpful, constructive and indispensable partner to resolve important regional problems,” he said.

Xi’s visit to North Korea will be the first by a Chinese leader since Hu Jintao in 2005.

Source: SCMP

07/05/2019

Senior Chinese official meets ROK National Assembly Speaker

CHINA-BEIJING-YANG JIECHI-ROK-MEETING (CN)

Yang Jiechi (R), a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, meets with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang in Beijing, capital of China, May 6, 2019. (Xinhua/Liu Bin)

BEIJING, May 6 (Xinhua) — Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met with Republic of Korea (ROK) National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang here Monday and both sides expressed hope to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

Yang, also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said China and the ROK are close neighbors, friends and partners, and their bilateral relations enjoy a long history and also potential for future development.

The two sides should continue to deepen bilateral pragmatic cooperation, strengthen multilateral coordination, cement friendly public support, and work together to advance China-ROK relations, said Yang.

Moon Hee-sang said the ROK National Assembly stands ready to make greater efforts to deepen cooperation between the ROK and China in all areas.

The two sides also exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula issue.

Source: Xinhua

19/03/2019

China hopes DPRK, U.S. to continue talks

BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) — China hopes the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States will cherish the hard-won momentum of dialogue and keep talking until a peaceful denuclearized Korean Peninsula is realized, a foreign ministry spokesperson said Monday.

Spokesperson Geng Shuang made the remarks at a daily press briefing in response to a question on DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui’s comment on a briefing held in Pyongyang.

Choe Son Hui said on Friday that the recent summit between the top leader of the DPRK Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump failed because the U.S. side lacked sincerity.

“After the Hanoi summit, the DPRK and the U.S. both expressed willingness to continue dialogues. We commend and encourage this,” Geng said.

China always believes that the Korean Peninsula issue can only be solved peacefully through political dialogues, he said.

He added that the key to keeping up and advancing dialogue is to accommodate all parties’ legitimate concerns in a balanced way, build up mutual trust and consensus, take phased and synchronized steps, and start with easier moves.

“As the nuclear issue has dragged on for decades and complicated factors are at play, one cannot expect it to be solved overnight. All parties need to have reasonable expectations. One shouldn’t set the bar too high at the outset or make unilateral, unrealistic demands,” Geng quoted Foreign Minister Wang Yi as saying.

He also said China hoped that the DPRK and the United States could cherish the hard-won momentum of dialogue, seize the opportunity, meet each other halfway, build up mutual trust and consensus, keep talking till something good comes out of the talks and a peaceful denuclearized Korean Peninsula is realized.

“The international community should encourage both sides to keep moving toward the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and establishing a peace regime,” Geng said.

China will continue to play a constructive role along with other parties, the spokesperson stressed.

Source: Xinhua

24/02/2019

North Korea’s Kim on his way by train to summit with Trump in Vietnam

SEOUL/HANOI (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his way across China by train on Sunday, media reported, bound for a high-stakes second nuclear summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi.

Few details of Kim’s trip have been announced but he left Pyongyang by train on Saturday afternoon for the Feb. 27-28 summit accompanied by senior North Korean officials as well as his influential sister, North Korea’s state media reported.

Trump and Kim will meet in Hanoi eight months after their historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, where they pledged to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

With little progress since then, the two leaders are expected to focus on what elements of North Korea’s nuclear programme it might begin to give up, in exchange for U.S. concessions.

In rare, revealing coverage of Kim’s travel, while it is still going on, the North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper featured photographs of him getting a red-carpet send-off in Pyongyang and waving from a train carriage door while holding a cigarette.

 

He was accompanied by top officials also involved in the Singapore summit, including Kim Yong Chol, a former spy chief and Kim’s top envoy in negotiations with the United States, as well as senior party aide Ri Su Yong, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and defence chief No Kwang Chol.

The North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who acted as a close aide in Singapore, is again part of the delegation, the North’s KCNA news agency reported. It made no mention of his wife, Ri Sol Ju.

The extensive coverage in the secretive North’s official media was a contrast to the limited reporting that has traditionally prevailed during his foreign trips.

Other senior officials, such as his de facto chief of staff Kim Chang Son and Kim Hyok Chol, negotiations counterpart to U.S. envoy Stephen Biegun, were already in Hanoi to prepare for the summit.

With scant progress since the June summit, the two leaders are likely to try to build on their personal connection to push things forward in Hanoi, even if only incrementally, analysts said.

Both sides are under pressure to forge more specific agreements than were reached in Singapore, which critics, especially in the United States, said lacked detail.

 

“They will not make an agreement which breaks up the current flow of diplomacy. (President Trump) has mentioned that they’ll meet again; even if there is a low-level agreement, they will seek to keep things moving,” said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

LEARNING FROM VIETNAM

The Trump administration has pressed the North to give up its nuclear weapons programme, which, combined with its missile capabilities, poses a threat to the United States, before it can expect any concessions.

North Korea wants an easing of punishing U.S.-led sanctions, security guarantees and a formal end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a treaty.

Few details of summit arrangements have been released.

Some lamp posts on Hanoi’s tree-lined streets are decked with North Korean, U.S. and Vietnamese flags fluttering above a handshake design, and security has been stepped up at locations that could be the summit venue, or where the leaders might stay.

It could take Kim at least 2-1/2 days to travel to Vietnam by train.

Some carriages of a green train were spotted at Beijing’s station on Sunday, but it was not confirmed it was Kim’s.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Kim’s train had passed through a station in China’s port city of Tianjin, southeast of Beijing, at around 1 p.m. (0500 GMT).

China has given no details of his trip. Its foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two top North Korean officials who were not in Singapore but will be in Hanoi are Kim Phyong Hae and O Su Yong, vice chairmen of the party’s Central Committee, respectively in charge of personnel management and industrial affairs, KCNA reported.

O is a former minister of electronics and vice minister of metals and machine building. He might try to learn about Vietnam’s development of manufacturing, analysts said.

Kim Jong Un may tour some economic facilities while in Vietnam.

Vietnam, like North Korea, fought a war against the United States and keeps tight control over its people and economy. It has been touted as a model for North Korea’s development.

Vietnamese media reported that a North Korean cargo plane arrived on Sunday carrying personnel who appeared to be Kim’s security guards and state media workers. They were driven under police escort to a downtown hotel.

Source: Reuters

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