HONG KONG — Jun 20, 2018, 10:24 AM ET

N. Korea hails ‘unbreakable’ ties with China in Beijing meetings, while Kim Jong Un again calls for ‘step-by-step’ denuclearization

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In their third meeting in less than three months, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly hailed their close and growing ties, while Xi urged the United States and North Korea to build on the momentum from their Singapore summit.

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“No matter how the international and regional situations change,” Xi told the North Korean leader, China and the Communist Party’s support of North Korea will remain “unchanged,” according to China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.

Kim, in turn, vowed to “lift the unbreakable … [North Korea]-China relations to a new level.”

This picture taken on June 19, 2018 and released by North Koreas official Korean Central News Agency on June 20, 2018 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.AFP/KCNA/KNS via Getty Images
This picture taken on June 19, 2018 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on June 20, 2018 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Xi commended Kim for making “positive efforts for realizing denuclearization and maintain peace on the peninsula,” adding that the situation there has been “put back on the right track of seeking settlement” and that “the situation on the peninsula was developing towards peace and stability.”

Kim arrived in Beijing Tuesday morning and returned to North Korea late Wednesday.

According to the official Chinese comments on the meetings, Xi was quoted as saying," China speaks highly of the summit.”

The most crucial remarks were possibly Kim’s commitment to “implement the consensus of the summit step-by-step solidly; the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will open up a new and important prospect.”

PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, walks beside Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, in this undated photo released June 20, 2018 by North Koreas Korean Central News Agency.KCNA via Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, walks beside Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, in this undated photo released June 20, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.

The phrase “step by step” was deliberate, showing that China supported Kim’s own proposed pace of denuclearization.

The Trump administration had sought for North Korea to be “completely denuclearized” before any sanctions would be lifted.

The resulting joint statement the United States and North Korea ultimately signed in Singapore last week included no timetable.

But “China will continue to play a constructive role to this end,” Xi said.

PHOTO: A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, right, walking with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting in Beijing, China, June 19, 2018.KCNA/REX via Shutterstock
A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, right, walking with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting in Beijing, China, June 19, 2018.

Xi and wife Peng Liyuan Tuesday night welcomed Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, with a banquet and cultural performance at the Great Hall of the People just off Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Kim previously met with Xi on two secret meetings in late March in Beijing and in early May in the coastal city of Dalian. Prior to the Singapore summit, Trump had complained that the North Koreans’ attitude changed after Kim and Xi met in Dalian.

Xi and Kim’s meeting continued during the morning Wednesday at the Diaoyutai guesthouse, where Kim was staying, concluding with a luncheon again with their wives.

Before returning to Pyongyang, Kim visited a national agricultural technology innovation park under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and the Beijing rail traffic control center.

News - N. Korea hails ‘unbreakable’ ties with China in Beijing meetings, while Kim Jong Un again calls for ‘step-by-step’ denuclearization

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  • ruelph

    Again, Trump is being played by both North Korea and China.

  • TexWho

    Kim mastered the book "The Art of the CON".

  • inonepeice

    Most knew it was China not Trump, and now China has taken the lead in world trade and even Climate change. Thanks Trump??

  • Thelightlady

    Trump got played. Putin and Xi must have had a real big laugh.

  • Ron Fuller

    Here we go! Reality rears its ugly head. Kim and Trump are not on the same page yet Trump declares mission accomplished .
    Hang on folks!

  • hold-the-phone

    "... step by step..."
    Translated from the original Korean: "You first, Donald. Big steps please. Then, we'll consider the status and talk some more..."

  • arriba65

    Hey Donald - how's that smashing success of a NK meeting coming along?

  • P-dizzle

    Replaced my ignorant question. Sorry.