President Xi Jinping said that China supports the “correct decision” of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to politically resolve the Korean Peninsula problem, voicing firm support for the secretive regime a day ahead of his visit, a first by a top Chinese leader in 14 years.
“We are pleased to see that with Chairman Kim’s correct decision and the concerted efforts of all parties concerned, the general trend of peaceful dialogue on the Korean Peninsula has taken shape and a political settlement to the Peninsula issue sees a rare historical opportunity, which has been universally recognised and anticipated by the international community,” Xi said in a signed article published in the official newspaper Rodong Sinmun and China’s official, Xinhua news agency.
China will “actively contribute to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity by strengthening communication and coordination with the DPRK and relevant parties to jointly push for progress in talks and negotiations on the issue,” he added.
Talking about the importance of the visit, Tong Zhao from Beijing’s Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy said: “The primary goal of this visit is to improve China-North Korea…the best way to guarantee its long-term influence would be to solidify its special relationship with North Korea. Another important goal would be to push forward the negotiation on denuclearisation and to stabilise the deteriorating China-US relationship in this process.”
Tong explained in his statement: “Admittedly, these two goals may be somewhat inherently contradictory, thus making it possible for external players to misinterpret China’s intentions. Such paradox, however, reflects the deep dilemma that the Chinese strategic community faces in balancing between an often-defiant NK and an increasingly hostile the United States, both of which are nuclear-armed countries and can seriously affect Chinese interests.”
“President Xi’s visit is undoubtedly a big event in China-North Korea relations. This is a great opportunity for the two countries to further deepen their relations,” Yang Mian, professor at the Institute of International Relations of the Communication University of China told the state-run, Global Times tabloid.
“Kim Jong-un has visited China four times, and the two leaders have shared opinions of the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Now North Korea has changed its strategy. Pyongyang has made known its position that it is willing to abandon nuclear weapons and focus on improving the country’s economy, which provides even larger space for China-North Korea cooperation”.