Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit on Tuesday reiterated their joint support for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, North Korean state-run outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Wednesday morning.
The two leaders met in the Chinese capital yesterday for their third meeting this year, just a week after after a landmark DPRK-U.S. summit in Singapore.
“Comrade Xi Jinping wholeheartedly supports North Korea’s stance and resolve to realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” KCNA reported, adding that “China will continue to play a constructive role in this going forward.”
Kim and Xi also discussed last week’s Singapore summit and China’s role in assisting North Korea going forward, the article continued.
Kim reportedly “expressed thanks to China’s party and government for their active and genuine support and remarkable aid towards carrying out a successful summit with the U.S.”
The two leaders also reaffirmed their “special relationship” as the focus was on their shared governing systems and “socialist achievements,” with Kim vowing to protect their socialist system with China’s help.
Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju were accompanied on the trip by DPRK foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, premier Pak Pong Ju, and Presidium of the Political Bureau member Choe Ryong Hae.
They were also joined by vice-chairmen of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Kim Yong Chol, Ri Su Yong, and Pak Thae Song.
The presence of Pak Pong Ju in the China delegation is notable: widely seen as an economic reformer by North Korean standards, it is his first trip abroad since 2011.
Kim and Xi began their meetings at 1700 local time yesterday, after which the two watched an art performance together.
Coverage by North Korea’s top news agency of Kim Jong Un’s third trip to China this year follows early and extensive coverage by Chinese state-run outlet Xinhua on Tuesday evening.
Reports of Kim’s visit to China were broken earlier in the day when evidence of his cargo plane having landed in Beijing began to surface, which were then confirmed not long after by Xinhua.
Remarking that this year was the 40th anniversary of China’s own economic reform and opening, Xinhua quoted Xi in an article Wednesday morning as saying the “Chinese people have been courageous to carry out self-reform and innovation… and have explored a development path suitable for China’s national conditions.”
Xi reportedly made the connection to China’s development path by calling North Korea’s one which “accords with its national conditions,” adding that China is “happy to see that the DPRK made a major decision to shift the focus to economic construction, and the development of the DPRK’s socialist cause has entered a new stage in history.”
A KCNA article from June 16 wishing Xi Jinping a happy birthday echoed this sentiment, stating that Kim praised Xi for opening a “bright prospect of socialism with the Chinese characteristics in the new era,” but these comments were not repeated in KCNA’s coverage of the summit on Wednesday.
Additionally, unlike North Korean coverage of Kim’s trip to Singapore and his willingness to learn from that country’s economic development, today’s KCNA article does not make any explicit mention of such goals with regards to their cooperation with China.
The Xinhua article also details their talks over denuclearization, reiterating China’s support and intention to maintain a leading role in the process.
Regarding the outcomes of last week’s summit with President Trump, Kim Jong Un was quoted as saying: “If the two sides can implement the consensus of the summit step by step solidly, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will open up a new and important prospect.”
Wednesday’s coverage of Kim’s ongoing visit by North Korean media follows the precedent set during his trip to Singapore last week for the summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, revealing details of his trip abroad before his return home.
The North Korean leader is set to return home later in the day.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: KCNA
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