The Pentagon on Monday formally suspended a major military exercise planned for August with South Korea, a much-anticipated move stemming from President Donald Trump's nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president, on Tuesday held 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 (DPRK), in Beijing.
In addition to speculating that Chinese and Russian support for existing USA -led sanctions against Pyongyang is likely to falter since Mr. Trump tweeted a day after meeting Mr. Kim that "there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea", critics have seized on a lack of specifics in the joint statement. A motorcade including sedans, minibuses, motorcycles and a stretch limo with a golden emblem similar to one Kim used previously was seen leaving the airport. "This shows that China is moving toward a healthier and more normal direction in relations with North Korea", Cheng said.
The open announcement of Tuesday's visit, however, marks a new era for Kim's position as a world leader.
Also, Pompeo dropped heavy hints in July 2017, right after North Korea began testing missiles that could hit the United States, that he'd like to separate Kim from power. He noted that unlike on previous visits, China's state broadcaster CCTV announced Kim's visit before his departure.
"The governments of South Korea and China share the same strategic goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean peninsula", stated Noh Kyu-Duk, Foreign Ministry spokesman for South Korea.
The visit to China is Mr Kim's third since March, when his first trip overseas since taking office was to meet President Xi Jinping.
The United States relies on China to enforce UN economic sanctions against the North, giving Beijing potential leverage in its looming trade war with Washington.
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"The Chinese people's friendship for the North Korean people will not change, and China's support for socialist North Korea will not change", Xi added.
Trump said last week after meeting with Kim in Singapore that he would end "war games" carried out with the South Koreans.
This marks Kim's third visit to China.
Editorials have also urged the global community to relieve sanctions against the regime as a reward for denuclearization. Moon said there was a need to be "flexible" on possibly easing military pressure on North Korea if the denuclearization process continues.
Go Myong-Hyun, a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said that Kim's latest visit might suggest that the North Korean leader was not entirely satisfied with the outcome of the Singapore summit.
But Yun Sen, an expert on North Korea at the Stimson Center, told Business Insider that ahead of the Trump-Kim China was likely trying to make sure it could retain that power. However, Trump just imposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods and is proposing 10% tariffs on $200 billion more.
The freeze fits with China's push for a "suspension-for-suspension" process, in which each side would build trust through a series of diplomatic and military gestures.