Monday, 25 March, 2019

Train believed to be carrying North Korea's Kim leaves Beijing

A vehicle in the motorcade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Beijing China on Jan 9 2019 Kim Jong Un's motorcade heads out on day 2 of China trip
Jeannette Daniel | 09 January, 2019, 19:06

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un departed Beijing Wednesday by train, marking an end to his surprise visit to the Chinese capital that comes as Washington and Pyongyang are trying to hammer out the details of a second summit.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news briefing Tuesday in Beijing that Kim's visit had no bearing on US trade talks. It came after US and North Korean officials were thought to have met in Vietnam to discuss the site of the summit.

The meeting was followed by a dinner hosted by Xi and his wife, Yonhap said. For Xi, whose country provides a lifeline to North Korea's anemic economy, the meeting with Kim reminds Trump that China's cooperation will make any nuclear deal more effective.

But his looming summit with Mr Trump is a pressing issue. Negotiations have made little headway since.

"On Secretary Pompeo's visit to North Korea, we don't have any travel to announce at all", US State Department spokesperson Katina Adams said in response to Radio Free Asia's request for comment Tuesday.

Given the limited speeds of the heavily fortified Kim uses to travel, it could takes 12 to 14 hours for him to reach the Chinese border city of Dandong, about 520 miles (840 kilometers) away, meaning he might spend the night in one of its luxury carriages before returning home.

The trip - Kim's fourth to China since March - suggests negotiations over North Korea's nuclear arsenal are gaining momentum after months without high-level diplomatic exchanges.

More news: Ransom sought as Norwegian millionaire's wife kidnapped

Experts say Kim Jong-un's trip to China may be meant to demonstrate to the world that North Korea-China relations remain strong, . and could also reflect the North's will to project the image of a normal state. "If he wants to shift his focus to the development of the economy, he needs China's cooperation", said Lu Chao, a North Korea expert at China's Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

Kim's visit comes as a USA delegation opened a second day of talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing aimed at ending the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

"Their behavior has demonstrated that as well and we appreciate that".

Neither Chinese nor North Korean state media have disclosed details of the visit. "We always believe that, as key parties to the Korean Peninsula issue, it's important for the two sides to maintain contact and we always support their dialogue to achieve positive outcomes, " Lu told reporters.

Shi Yinhong, an worldwide relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said Kim's trip would have no direct influence on the progress of trade talks.

Relations between China and North Korea had deteriorated in recent years over Pyongyang's nuclear activities, but Kim has made sure to keep Xi informed about his dealings with the United States and South Korea as ties appear to have warmed.

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