North Korea’s Kim May Ask Xi To Send Trump A Message

Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un
A television screen shows Chinese state media CCTV's footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Pyongyang, in Beijing, China June 20, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee)

Chinese media have confirmed that China's Xi Jinping and North Korea's Kim Jong Un have kicked off talks in Pyongyang on Thursday, marking the first visit by a Chinese president for over a decade. Analysts believe Kim will most likely mention the nuclear program issue with the U.S. during his meeting with Xi.

According to the Associated Press, political analysts said the North Korean leader may pass a message to U.S. President Donald Trump through Xi during the latter's two-day visit in the country.

Talks about the potential revival of negotiations regarding North Korea's nuclear program were ignited amid Xi's expected meet-up with Trump at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan in the coming week.

In February, Kim and Trump met in Hanoi, Vietnam for nuclear talks but negotiations fell apart. The two leaders failed to strike a deal but not much is known about the true reason behind the fallout.

With Xi due to meet Trump at the sidelines of the G20 Summit, analysts are expecting the former to have a message from Kim to pass on. Xi and Trump are also expected to re-negotiate the escalated trade war that has been impacting businesses from both China and the U.S.

It is worth noting that the U.S. wants North Korea to completely denuclearize but the latter wants to undergo the process gradually. Kim also announced last year that he wants to his country to transition from nuclear focus to a more economically-centered nation.

Meanwhile, some analysts noted that Xi's Pyongyang trip is "big on symbolism and big on substance." According to CNBC, Director of the Korea Project at Harvard Kennedy School, John Park, said the visit is significant in the upcoming Xi-Trump meeting next week.

Other experts believe Xi is sending a separate message to Trump amid trade tensions. "Xi's trip is partly an effort to remind Trump of the key role that China plays on the North Korean nuclear issue," China and Northeast Asia practice head at Eurasia Group, Michael Hirson, noted.

Furthermore, Xi's North Korean excursion around a week before his meeting with Trump is believed to be another message of confirming that it is not backing down in the trade war despite repeated threats and the probability of additional tariffs.

Beijing confirmed Trump's tweet on Wednesday that he is scheduled to meet with the Chinese president. Chinese and American delegations will meet first before the two leaders speak with each other regarding trade.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he believes both countries want to end talks with an amicable settlement regarding the trade war that has cost millions in losses in various sectors.

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