Opinion: Why did Kim meet with Xi?
Updated 21:30, 14-Jan-2019
CGTN’s The Point
At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un, visited China from January 7 to 10. The visit was Kim's first diplomatic activity of 2019 and also his fourth visit to China in less than a year.
The two sides agreed to make joint efforts to push for new development of Sino-DPRK relations in the new era, advance the political settlement process of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, bring more benefits to people of the two countries, and make positive contributions to peace, stability, prosperity, and development of the region and the rest of the world.
Kim's latest visit occurred on the cusp of the DPRK's transformation from an "armistice mechanism" to a "peace mechanism." It is believed that a second Trump-Kim summit is on the cards, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on January 3: "Lots of work is left to be done, but I am confident that in the next short period of time President Trump and Chairman Kim will get the chance to meet again."
Chinese President Xi Jinping (center, left) holds talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un (center, right) in Beijing, January 8, 2019. /Xinhua Photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping (center, left) holds talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un (center, right) in Beijing, January 8, 2019. /Xinhua Photo

Dr Ivan Eland, senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute, thinks this visit of Kim to Beijing is a signal both sides are sending to the U.S. From the DPRK side, Kim is signaling before his summit with U.S. President Trump that he has a friend in China and he can go another way if the U.S. keeps sanctions on his country. For the Chinese side, this might be a bargaining chip with the U.S. that China could help with the DPRK to get a better deal in U.S.-China trade talks.
However, Professor Fan Jishe from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences believes that people are reading too much into Kim's China visit. He points out that nuclear issues are an important thing and trade talks between China and the U.S. is another so these two have nothing in common to be connected together.
Speculation is high about the possible second summit between Kim and Trump. The Republic of Korea's (ROK) largest news agency Yonhap commented that Kim's talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping are apparently aimed at coordinating strategies ahead of the possible second summit with Donald Trump.
“I think this entire summit is probably premature given the fact that the two sides are locking their hands over the nuclear issues still, despite their papering over the differences after the first one. I think that's probably what's gonna happen for the next one, because I don't think the DPRK is ever gonna give up their nuclear weapons,” said Eland.
“I think the likelihood is that the U.S. president will have a vanity summit for President Trump's own purposes but will not reach a verifiable agreement with the DPRK. The whole exercise is probably a waste of time on the U.S. part; that's what's going to happen.” 
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