US experts, media hail DPRK leader's visit to China as evidence of enduring friendship

In the short term, experts see the meeting as a sign that the Trump summit is likely to go ahead.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president, holds talks with Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during Kim’s recent visit. 

UNITED States experts and media on Wednesday expressed positive views on the just-concluded unofficial visit to China by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s top leader Kim Jong Un.

Details of the visit, especially Kim’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, have been scrutinized on the other side of the Pacific.

In an article published on Wednesday, the New York Times noted that “Mr Xi showed considerable warmth toward Mr Kim, smiling widely and offering affectionate embraces. Mr Kim returned the fondness, waving enthusiastically as he departed.”

Analysts said the visit has showed to the world that the China-DPRK friendship, forged through the two nations’ shared experiences in times of war and peace, is capable of enduring and coping with the rapid changes of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

A Washington Post piece issued on the same day said the meeting between Xi and Kim “showcased enduring bonds between the two countries.”

Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the US Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Xinhua via e-mail that Kim was following his father, Kim Jong Il, who traveled to China as the DPRK’s top leader in 2000 on the eve of his first-ever meeting with South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.

Kim Jong Un, by his visit to China, also signaled to the US that the DPRK must be taken seriously in the upcoming talks, said Troy Stangarone, senior director at the Korea Economic Institute, a Washington-based non-profit policy research institution.

With the visit, China “is reminding all the parties that China has a voice in the future of the Peninsula” and wants the region to denuclearize, said Carnegie’s Paal.

Michael Mazarr, a senior political scientist at the US RAND Corp, also said that China has sent a signal through the visit that “it has an established relationship with the DPRK.”

Whether from a short-term or a long-term perspective, the meeting between Xi and Kim will consolidate the world’s confidence in and commitment to the peaceful settlement of current issues, experts said.

“In the short term, experts see the meeting as a sign that the Trump summit is likely to go ahead,” the Washington Post article read.

Ryan Hass, a Brookings scholar focusing on China and Asia, said in an article published on Wednesday that “the more Washington is able to adapt by bolstering coordination and building cohesion with Beijing ... on a common approach for dealing with North Korea, the better the odds that Trump will be able to use his planned upcoming meeting with Kim to push the North Korea challenge down a peaceful path.”

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