June 20, 2018 09:59
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's latest China trip was surrounded by none of the secrecy that marked the last two visits, with Chinese media freely reporting on his arrival on the arm of his wife Ri Sol-ju.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan welcomed the Kims at a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Chinese state media reported that Xi praised Kim's "successful summit" with U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim thanked China for "playing an important role in the denuclearization, and the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula." He called China "our great neighbor" and Xi "a great leader we respect and trust."
After the summit, Xi and his wife hosted a dinner and the two leaders and their wives watched a cultural performance together.
Kim's jet, an ancient Ilyushin IL-62, arrived at the private jet terminal of Beijing Capital International Airport at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. It followed a cargo plane that had carried his private limousine to Singapore for his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump on June 12, and another jet which he uses when he visits the provinces.
Kim and his wife were caught by reporters' cameras alighting from his jet. About a dozen limousines, minibuses, an ambulance and a refrigerated van were also spotted at the airport, in addition to two limousines emblazoned with a golden emblem.
The large convoy sparked speculation that many economic officials were accompanying Kim, who now seems minded to open his country's moribund economy.
Chinese state media reported the visit almost as soon as he arrived, and CCTV broadcast the welcoming ceremony and the summit on the evening news. During his last two visits, reports only came out when Kim was safely back in Pyongyang.
Asked why Beijing scrapped the secrecy this time, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said it was because circumstances surrounding news reporting are different for each visit.
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