Xi Jinping Meets Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang on April
Chinese president Xi Jinping is expected to meet the North Korean President Kim Jong-un during his first visit to the country in April. The South China Morning Post reported that a South Korean parliamentary source confirmed that the two sides agreed on the matter.
According to reports, North Korea has repeatedly issued an invitation for the Chinese president to visit the country since he was selected as the head of state six years ago. The president was also invited to attend North Korea's national day celebration in September.
In October, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that he is expecting Presidents Xi's visit in Pyongyang. The visit became real following President Kim's fourth trip to China this January. According to the report, this year is the perfect timing for Xi's visit since the two countries celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between them.
Hu Jintao, Xi's predecessor, is the last Chinese president to visit North Korea in 2015. Xi visited China in 2008 as a vice-president.
A parliamentary source told South China Morning Post that the president's visit is timed to coincide with the Day of the Sun holiday on April 15. The date is one of the most celebrated occasions in North Korea since it is the birth of the nation's founding father, Kim Il-sung. The source claims that Xi's visit will be used as a propaganda tool to further assert the North Korean president's diplomatic achievements.
The source's rumored visit coincides with South Korean former Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan predictions that the Chinese president will visit South Korea after its visit to the North in April. He said that a summit between China and North Korea, followed by a second U.S.-North Korea summit, and the inter-Korean summit will foster peace in northeast Asia.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart are expected to meet on an unannounced date. However, rumors are circulating that the meeting will take place in Vietnam. The two leaders' first meeting was in Singapore last year.
South Korean foreign ministry was said to have announced that the Singapore and Vietnam are among the possible venues for the meeting of the two leaders. According to Trump's statement, they are currently negotiating the venue with North Korea and they will announce the conclusion in the not too distant future.
According to Zhang Baohui, professor of political science and director of the Center for Asian-Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, the summit is supposed to break the deadlock between the two countries but it is however not easy due to the deep mistrust between them.