SHANGHAI (REUTERS, AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to make a second summit with United States President Donald Trump achieve a result that would be welcomed by the international community, China's Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday (Jan 10) after Mr Kim visited Beijing.
Mr Kim said he hoped relevant sides would take North Korea's "reasonable concerns" seriously and actively respond to them to promote a comprehensive resolution to the Korean peninsula issue, China's official news agency said.
The North Korean leader met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing during his two-day visit to the Chinese capital this week, and they reiterated their support for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
Mr Xi told Mr Kim that Beijing backs the North Korean leader's possible second summit with Mr Trump and hopes they "meet each other halfway", Xinhua reported. Mr Trump said on Sunday that the US and North Korea are negotiating the location of their next summit.
"Political settlement of the (Korean) peninsula issue faces a rare historic opportunity," Mr Xi said during Mr Kim's visit, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Discussions between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal have stalled since Mr Kim and Mr Trump’s high-profile first summit in Singapore in June where they issued a vaguely worded declaration about denuclearisation.
The US insists that United Nations sanctions must remain in place until North Korea gives up its weapons, while Pyongyang wants them immediately eased. China also wants the sanctions to be relaxed.
“China hopes that the DPRK and the United States will meet each other halfway,” Mr Xi said. He added that China stands ready to play a “positive and constructive role” to maintain peace and stability and achieve denuclearisation on the peninsula.
China is the North’s main diplomatic backer and key trade partner, whose forces were instrumental in fighting for it during the 1950-53 Korean War.
North Korea's state media gave a slightly different take on the Kim-Xi meeting.
Kim expressed “concern” about the deadlock in denuclearisation discussions in his talks with Xi, the official KCNA news agency said. Kim “raised concern about the impasse created in the process of improving US-DPRK ties and in denuclearisation talks”, it said.
Kim said Pyongyang’s “basic position of pursuing a peaceful resolution through dialogue remains unchanged”, it added.
According to KCNA, Beijing issued a ringing endorsement of the North’s position. “Xi Jinping said that the legitimate issues raised by the DPRK are rightful demands and that he fully agrees that the DPRK’s reasonable interests should be justly resolved,” it said.
It added that Xi accepted an invitation by Kim to visit the North “at a convenient time” and “informed him of related plans”.
It would be Xi’s first trip to Pyongyang since he took power in 2012. But it is not the first time Pyongyang has said Xi has accepted such an invitation – it did so in March last year after Kim went to Beijing for the first time as leader, but Xi has yet to make a return journey.