North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, have held talks in Beijing, in Kim’s first foreign trip since taking office. Kim’s wife reportedly accompanied him.
Both Chinese and North Korean state media have confirmed that Kim is on a state visit to China. Kim arrived at the invitation of the Chinese president, and stayed for an unofficial four-day visit.
The visit comes ahead of the highly anticipated talks between Kim and US President Donald Trump, which are expected to be held by the end of May. The exact date has not been set yet, and it was feared that the denuclearization issue, a long-standing stumbling block in US-North Korea relations, will be an unsurmountable obstacle on the way to a potential breakthrough.
However, following the negotiations with Xi, Kim indicated that Pyongyang may be ready for compromise.
“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” he said in a stark contrast to some of North Korea’s previous statements, as cited by Xinhua.
He went on to imply that North Korea will be poised to get rid of its own nuclear arsenal, provided the US and its ally, South Korea, cooperate.
“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,” he said.