NK leader Kim visits China, raises expectations for NK-US summit on the horizon

2019.01.08 14:46:47 | 2019.01.08 15:42:55

North Korea`s leader Kim Jong-un (Right) and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, leave for China on Jan. 8, 2019. [Photo provided by The Korean Central News Agency / For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution] 이미지 확대

North Korea`s leader Kim Jong-un (Right) and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, leave for China on Jan. 8, 2019. [Photo provided by The Korean Central News Agency / For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution]

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has made his fourth visit to China to hold a summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, raising expectations that a second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump may be impending.

The North Korea’s state-run media Korean Central News Agency and China’s CCTV confirmed Tuesday that Kim began his three-day trip to China until Thursday, his fourth visit to the traditional ally state to the socialist regime since the young leader shifted from military provocation to diplomatic charm offensive last year.

Kim’s visit came after Trump had told reporters that he is preparing for a second meeting with Kim as soon as possible. Kim had conferred with Xi last year before he started summit meetings with South Korean and U.S. leaders.

The news sharply lifted local stocks related to North Korea. On Tuesday, shares of Ananti, a golf course and resort operator in the North, soared 19.18 percent to 26,100 won. Rail-related stocks also surged.

In his New Year’s address, Kim affirmed his commitment to create peace on the Korean peninsula on the external front, and at the same time make efforts to revive the North Korean economy. Experts suggested that he flew to Beijing to have the North’s most important ally on his side to gain favorable position at the U.S.-North summit and during denuclearization talks.

He emphasized the importance of multilateral negotiations in achieving peace on the Korean peninsula by having talks with every party involved in the signing of the armistice agreement in 1953 during his New Year’s speech. As he moves closer to China, he is stressing the role of China in the future peace talks.

By Ahn Jung-hoon and Choi Mira

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