China: Kim pledges denuclearisation

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan. The two leaders affirmed their countries' close ties and "traditional friendship" during Mr Kim's visit to Beijing.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan. The two leaders affirmed their countries' close ties and "traditional friendship" during Mr Kim's visit to Beijing.PHOTO: REUTERS

China said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula during his unannounced visit to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing earlier this week.

Chinese state media reported that Mr Kim also vowed to maintain "strategic communication" with Mr Xi regarding his engagement with South Korean President Moon Jae In and US President Donald Trump. This effectively brings China into the picture, after it appeared to have been sidelined while progress was being made in resolving the denuclearisation issue.

Both countries confirmed yesterday that a meeting took place between the two leaders, who also affirmed their countries' close ties and "traditional friendship".

The Chinese capital had been abuzz with speculation about Mr Kim's visit since Monday, when a green train resembling one used by his late father Kim Jong Il to travel to China was seen trundling across the border at the north-eastern Chinese city of Dandong and later pulling into Beijing station.

The train was seen leaving Beijing on Tuesday and confirmation of the meeting came a day later.

South Korea welcomed the thaw in China-North Korea ties, while reaction elsewhere, particularly from the US and Japan, was more cautious.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2018, with the headline 'China: Kim pledges denuclearisation'. Print Edition | Subscribe