Beijing, June 19 (IANS) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday arrived on a two-day China visit and met President Xi Jinping, just a week after his historic meet with US President Donald Trump in Singapore on the Korean nuclear crisis.
The Chinese state broadcaster showed Xi and Kim holding talks at the Great Hall of the People. Kim is understood to have briefed the Chinese President on his meeting in Singapore last week.
The development comes amid an ugly trade spat between the US and China, with experts viewing the visit as Beijing’s show of leverage it holds over Pyongyang.
This is Kim’s third visit to China since March this year and the previous two were not made public until the leader left the country.
His back-to-back China trips reflect the warming of ties between the Communist countries whose relations were hit hard after Beijing cleared UN economic sanctions on Pyongyang for firing off ballistic missiles and conducting nuclear tests.
China is the sole ally of North Korea and always appealed for calm and diplomatic approach whenever tempers frayed between Pyongyang and Washington.
In the unprecedented summit between a serving US President and a North Korean leader in Singapore, the two decided to leave the acrimonious past behind and pledged to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.
China was quick to signal that economic sanctions on North Korea should be lifted; a suggestion rejected by the US, which said any such move would come only after Pyongyang dismantles its nuclear arsenal.
The animosity between North Korea and the US dates back to 1950 when Pyongyang invaded the South, prompting Washington to fight by the side of Seoul.
The North was backed by China and Russia in the Korean War until an armistice was put in place in 1953.
North Korea said it built up its arsenal because it feared invasion by Washington and Seoul. China has been Pyongyang’s ally since then.
Beijing has a strategic interest in keeping the Peninsula calm as it fears that war between Pyongyang and Washington would trigger an influx of North Korean refugees into its border.