Beijing has confirmed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has visited China to hold talks with President Xi Jinping, in his first foreign visit since taking power.
The announcement corroborated speculation which was sparked when a train similar to the one the dictator’s father used was spotted making a round-trip to Beijing.
Xi held talks with Kim at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and he and his wife Peng Liyuan hosted a banquet for Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju.
‘I have had successful talks with General Secretary Xi Jinping on developing relations between the two parties and the two countries, our respective domestic situation, maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and other issues,’ Kim said at the banquet.
Kim also committed to denuclearisation in Korea if the United States and the South showed ‘goodwill’, it was reported, with China agreeing to support its neighbour if nuclear tensions could be eased.
Kim visited China from Sunday to Wednesday with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, a South Korean news agency said, with President Xi also accepting an invitation to visit North Korea.
The trip comes weeks after US President Donald Trump accepted an invitation to meet Kim.
Analysts say Kim would have felt a need to consult with his country’s traditional ally ahead of his planned meetings with Mr Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
‘If South Korea and the United States respond with good will to our efforts and create an atmosphere of peace and stability, and take phased, synchronized measures to achieve peace, the issue of the denuclearization of the peninsula can reach resolution,’ Mr. Kim said, according to Xinhua’s summary of his meeting with Mr. Xi.