Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un present united front against ‘serious international changes’

22-Jun-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Beijing and Pyongyang believe “serious and complex” international affairs make it more important that they strengthen their relations, North Korean state media said on Friday as Chinese President Xi Jinping wraps up his first state visit to the country.

“The supreme leaders have exchanged wide-ranging opinions on important international and regional issues under the serious and complex changes in the international and regional situation,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, referring to talks between Xi and Kim Jong-un on Thursday.

KCNA said stronger ties between the two countries would improve the stability of the Korean peninsula and the security of the wider region.

“[The two leaders said] strengthening the bilateral relationship would come in line with realising the common interests of the two countries, as well as ensuring regional peace, stability and development,” it said.

In the talks, Xi said China would support North Korea’s new strategic route, which Kim proposed earlier this year, if international sanctions on the regime were not lifted, KCNA reported.

The two leaders agreed to have close strategic communication and deepen cooperation in various fields, KCNA said.

According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, Xi pledged to help North Korea meet its “security and development needs” and play a constructive role in denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Xi and Kim attended a banquet on Thursday evening and then a mass gymnastics performance, Undefeated Socialism, at the Rungrado May Day Stadium, showing their “traditional and eternal friendship”, North Korean media said.

“Socialism is the core of the DPRK-China friendship… we must secure and develop socialism together,” North Korean media quoted Kim as saying to Xi during the banquet.

The DPRK refers to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.

Xi was due to visit the Friendship Tower a monument symbolising the two countries’ kinship on Friday, then have a lunch meeting with Kim before returning home.

North Korea put on a lavish welcome for Xi on Thursday, mobilising 250,000 people on the streets of Pyongyang to wave the Chinese delegation from Pyongyang airport to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.

The comments of the two leaders come after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump, in Hanoi in February, collapsed against a backdrop of continued economic struggle for North Korea. Beijing, meanwhile, faces trade and military pressures from Washington.

China’s position regarding the Kim regime was unchanged, said Zhang Baohui, director of the Centre for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

“China remains the main backer of North Korea and its strategic interests on the Korean peninsula have remained constant,” Zhang said, adding that Beijing had been promoting the “Three Nos” no nuclear weapons, no war and no chaos on the peninsula.

“While China has been working with the world community to denuclearise North Korea, it rejects any measures that could lead to war and instability on the Korean peninsula. Geography dictates this continuity of China’s core interests.”



Category: Korea

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