DPRK leader Kim Jong Un concluded his fourth visit to China, which doubled as Kim's first foreign trip in 2019. As China and the DPRK celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties, a strengthening of strategic exchanges is on the agenda.
Rong Ying, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, thinks Kim's fourth visit in the space of a year showed his strong commitment to China-DPRK relations, as well as a positive sign for peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
Joseph Kim, a CGTN correspondent in Seoul, shared the local media's reaction to the visit. Many speculate it was the prelude to the second Trump-Kim summit and perhaps Kim was getting consultation and having discussion about the denuclearization process. Overall, South Korea is taking it in a positive way.
Einar Tangen, an author and columnist, pointed out that Kim has emerged as an individual who has regular meetings with the most powerful people in the world. This visit to China was the first time he showed up with a lot of confidence.
Joseph added that many people are wondering what Kim's visit did to the position of the U.S. since it came at a time when there were still talks for denuclearization between Pyongyang and Washington.
“South Korea (ROK) is saying that this is a good sign, [and] this is a sign that perhaps the DPRK can go forward with denuclearization and China is helping,” said Joseph. “But for the United States, perhaps it put them in a more difficult situation because now they also know that DPRK has a reaffirmed alliance with China and perhaps this adds a little extra to what the United States has to think about.”
Einar stated that even though there have been meetings in the past year, there's been no real sanction relief. Kim wants to show his people that he's able to use nuclear threats as the means to get economic assistance, but who would provide the said assistance remains unclear.
“Another meeting with Trump is only going to expose the very structural difference in their approach. Kim wants a step by step “I do something you do something” in terms of sanctions relieved. And Donald Trump says you do it all and then we'll see about what I will do,” commented Einar.
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