Kim Jong-un Wraps up China Visit

  • By Lee Kil-seong, Ahn Jun-yong

    January 10, 2019 09:25

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wrapped up his visit to China on Wednesday afternoon, arriving in Pyongyang on Thursday morning.

    Earlier in the day, Kim visited a special economic development zone in Beijing and toured a factory run by China's largest pharmaceutical company Tong Ren Tan.

    He then had lunch with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a downtown Beijing hotel before boarding his train.

    An ambulance stands by in front of a restaurant where Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have lunch together in Beijing on Wednesday (top); A car (red-dotted) carries Kim through Beijing on Wednesday (bottom). /Yonhap

    The itinerary showed off his close ties to China and demonstrated his eagerness to develop the North Korean economy.

    In a meeting at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday a day earlier, the two leaders discussed economic cooperation aimed at alleviating the North's hardships from international sanctions.

    They will also have talked about a "new path" that Kim mentioned in his New Year's address, but neither China nor North Korea gave any detail of their discussions.

    The summit lasted only an hour, suggesting that the visit chiefly aimed to flaunt the solidarity between the two allies ahead of the second U.S.-North Korea summit and attracting the attention of Washington.

    But Kim and Xi also spent four hours dining and two hours having lunch together.

    Kim's visit appeared to follow a well-planned script. China and North Korea, which face negotiations with the U.S. either on trade or nuclear disarmament, flaunted their close ties in a year marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations to give Washington a nudge.

    One diplomatic source in Beijing said, "It looks like they meticulously planned the summit at a time when their interests coincide ahead of talks with the U.S."

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