It is the fourth visit of Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, to Beijing and he arrived in his special train at the invitation of Xi Jinping, the president of China. Kim’s wife Ri Sol-Ju and several senior officials accompanied him. His earlier three visits were in 2018. Even though China is North Korea’s closest ally, the two had not met for six years after Kim took over the reins. The recent visits appear to be efforts to improve ties with each other as Kim tries to come out of isolation.

The Guardian reports the agenda of Kim’s visit appears to be connected to the second summit with US president Donald Trump that could happen early this year.

The agenda of the four-day meeting between Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping could be to work out strategies of the next summit with Donald Trump on the burning issue of denuclearization in the Korean peninsula.

Vietnam could host next Trump-Kim summit

The visit of Kim Jong-un comes on the heels of a meeting of U.S. and North Korean officials in Vietnam to discuss the location of the next Trump-Kim summit. The earlier one in Singapore in June 2018 did have its positives because it discussed the issue of denuclearization in the Korean peninsula.

However, the Trump administration is worried about the progress of this important subject. There is a tussle between the US and North Korea. Washington wants Pyongyang to disclose further details about its nuclear program, but the latter wants the US to relax the international sanctions that are hurting the economy of North Korea.

During his New Year’s Day speech, Kim expressed his willingness to meet Donald Trump but also cautioned that he could go for an alternative path if the US continues to pressurize his country.

Hence, observers feel another meeting will be useful. South Korea hopes Kim Jong-un’s trip to China would act as a “stepping stone” for a second Trump-Kim summit. China also supports “contact between the US and North Korea and a resolution of the Korean peninsula issue.”

Visit of Kim Jong-un to China is significant

According to Washington Post, Kim Jong-un is on his fourth visit to China but the Chinese president has not yet visited North Korea.

Kim is a young leader and from the looks of it, he probably wants guidance from a senior man like Xi Jinping on how best to handle the United States. Incidentally, Kim had visited Xi immediately before and after the June summit he had with Trump. The North Korean leader has already informed that if the US does not soften its attitude on sanctions, Pyongyang could explore alternatives. All eyes will now be on Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, where the second Trump-Kim summit might happen. Interestingly, talks are in progress between the U.S. and Vietnam on new business deals.