SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Watch View Alerts

North Korea's Kim Jong Un met Xi Jinping on surprise visit to China

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made his first foreign trip since assuming power in 2011, meeting China's Preside...

Posted: Mar 28, 2018 1:28 PM
Updated: Mar 28, 2018 1:28 PM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made his first foreign trip since assuming power in 2011, meeting China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing and discussing giving up the country's nuclear weapons, according to Chinese state media.

Kim, who made the surprise trip to the Chinese capital at Beijing's request, said he felt compelled to personally inform President Xi of the rapid diplomatic developments on the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks, Xinhua reported.

The visit represents stunning shift for Kim, who appears to be fashioning himself as a leader in search of a peaceful solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. It's in sharp contrast to 2017, when Kim oversaw a string of missile and nuclear tests that drew the ire of the international community.

Kim's trip was the first of three potential meetings with some of the world's most powerful leaders.

Kim is set to attend a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next month, and will later meet US President Donald Trump, in what would be an historic first encounter between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader.

Key points:

  • Kim said he was committed to denuclearization but with conditions, Xinhua reported
  • Xi hosted a grand banquet for Kim at the Great Hall of the People
  • Kim traveled to China by train on March 25 and spent two days in Beijing
  • North Korean state media said Xi accepted an invitation to visit Pyongyang
  • White House said it was informed of the meeting Tuesday

Analysts said the visit was a courtesy call aimed at shoring up Pyongyang's ties with China, a traditional ally and major trading partner. Leaders from the two countries haven't met since 2011, with ties souring after Kim purged some of Beijing's allies in North Korea and the isolated nation relentlessly pursued its development of nuclear weapons.

Kim called for a "new era" in bilateral relations in a letter to Xi published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), which also reported that Xi had accepted an invitation to visit North Korea "at a convenient time." The acceptance of the invitation was not reported by Chinese state media although Xinhua said that Xi would keep in frequent contact, which could include exchange of visits.

"In this spring full of happiness and hopes, I believe my first meeting with General Secretary Xi Jinping will yield abundant fruits of DPRK-China friendship, and facilitate peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," said Kim, referring to Xi by his title as leader of the Chinese Communist Party.

RELATED: Why Kim Jong Un made a secret trip to China

Kim made his trip "at the invitation" of Xi, state media from both countries reported. While billed as an unofficial visit, Kim got red-carpet treatment in Beijing, including a banquet at the Great Hall of the People.

An equal player?

North Korea's diplomatic charm offensive is likely part of an attempt to show Kim as a world player equal in stature to leaders like Xi, said Jean Lee, an analyst at the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy at The Wilson Center.

"We're seeing a carefully crafted North Korean strategy on diplomacy unfold on the world stage, starting with Beijing," Lee said.

"He's positioned himself as the peacemaker, he's made all the first moves."

Chinese state media quoted Kim as saying that he is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a key Chinese goal, but Lee warned Kim would seek major concessions in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons.

"The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace," Kim said, according to Xinhua.

White House credits 'maximum pressure'

Images broadcast on Chinese state television CCTV Wednesday showed Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, meeting with Xi and other Chinese officials during the trip.

As well as Xi, Kim also took part in events with his deputies, including Li Keqiang, the Chinese premier, and Wang Qishan, the Chinese vice president who is considered one of Xi's closest confidantes.

The trip took place from March 25 to 28, with Kim and his wife traveling by train. Rumors first surfaced about a potential visit by a high-level North Korean representative Monday night in Beijing, when pictures of what appeared to be the Kim family's distinctive green train surfaced online.

The White House said in a statement that the Chinese government briefed them on the meeting Tuesday and claimed some credit for the development.

"We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

The US has spearheaded efforts at the United Nations to sanction North Korea and pressured China to implement measures targeting Pyongyang's ability to import fuel and bring in revenue.

Friends again

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, also held a welcome banquet for their visitors. Kim told his hosts that he chose China as his first overseas destination as leader to show "his will to carry forward the tradition of DPRK-China friendship, and how he valued the friendship between the two countries," referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Xi said Beijing is willing to work with North Korea to "promote long-term healthy and stable development of China-DPRK relations, benefit the two countries and two peoples, and make new contribution to regional peace, stability and development," Xi said.

KCNA said Kim was "accorded cordial hospitality with utmost sincerity to him in token of warm comradely friendship and friendly feelings during his China visit."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
Warren24591303
Mahoning22370603
Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
Crawford4037110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
Champaign344759
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 81°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Strong to severe storms move through Sunday evening to early Monday morning. Showers and a few storms are likely on Monday.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events