President Xi Jinping departed Pyongyang on Friday afternoon, Chinese state media reported, wrapping up his fifth summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the two leaders’ first in the DPRK.
As of late Friday, Chinese media reported on only two events on the itinerary for the second day of the summit, first visiting the Sino-Korean Friendship Tower in central Pyongyang at 10:00 local time and a farewell ceremony at the international airport at 15:00.
His departure brings to an end the second summit between China and North Korea this year, in a meeting which saw the two sides reaffirm long-standing ties and agree to expand cooperation in political and diplomatic affairs.
The timing of the talks was also critical: President Xi is set to fly to Osaka, Japan next week, where he is expected to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in a summit on the sidelines of the G20.
In this light, the talks, while lacking in concrete details, served to send an important message to the United States, one expert told NK News.
“First of all, it was signaling to the U.S.,” said Andrei Lankov, a director at the Korea Risk Group, which owns and operates NK News. “The North Koreans are doing it because they want to show they have a safety net, that the Americans cannot corner them.”
“If things go bad, they can rely on the Chinese,” he added. “They will avoid a serious crisis, even famine, because China has their back.”
He was greeted in the North Korean capital by Kim Jong Un midday Thursday, with the two leaders driving along streets lined by tens of thousands of locals to a welcoming ceremony at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in central Pyongyang.
Both sides then held bilateral talks at the newly-built Kumsusan Guesthouse nearby, where the Chinese president discussed ongoing denuclearization negotiations and economic development in addition to methods of deepening bilateral ties.
Xi was reported to have hailed Kim Jong Un’s decision to “promote the denuclearization of the peninsula,” and said there are “bright prospects for dialogue and settlement.”
“China is ready to help the DPRK to solve its own reasonable security and development concerns,” he added, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The report also mentioned, however, that Kim said it is “not desirable for the North to have failed to receive an active response from the concerned side” – a likely reference to the U.S.
North Korean media on Friday also reported on talks over ongoing denuclearization negotiations, saying the two leaders had a “broad exchange of opinions over grave international and regional matters, including the situation of the Korean peninsula.”
According to Xinhua, Kim also said “his country is willing to learn more from China’s experience and endeavor to develop the economy and improve people’s livelihood,” with Xi responding that China hopes to deepen inter-party ties and “boost cadre training and personnel exchanges in economic and well-being areas.”
North Korean state television began airing video of the first day of the summit on Friday afternoon.
Included were the initial welcoming ceremony at the airport, the open-top convertible drive through Ryomyong Street, the second ceremony at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, one-on-one and expanded talks at the guesthouse, a dinner banquet, and finally the viewing of a special mass games performance catered to the Chinese President.
Later on Friday, Chinese media reported that following Xi’s departure he and Kim Jong Un visited the Sino-Korean Friendship Tower at 10:00 local time to hold a ceremony honoring the soldiers of both countries killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.
Xi Jinping reportedly made a speech at the event, where he said the two countries must remember the sacrifices of those soldiers and “consolidate and develop the socialist cause of the two countries, better benefit the people of the two countries, and promote regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.”
Kim also made a speech, according to the People’s Daily report, again emphasizing the two countries’ “traditional friendship” and intention to strengthen ties.
Xinhua then reported that a farewell ceremony was held at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport starting at 15:00, with Kim Jong Un and other top officials seeing off Xi and his wife and the North Korean honor guards performing a military salute.
Chinese state media is expected to release images and further details of Friday’s summit activities later in the day following his landing in Beijing, while North Korean media will likely start to cover the day’s events on Saturday morning.
Edited by James Fretwell
Featured image: KCNA
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 793 words of this article.