Pyongyang visit to contribute to Korean Peninsula talks: Xi
Pyongyang, June 19 (IANS) Chinese President Xi Jinping, in an op-ed published in an official North Korean newspaper on Wednesday, said his upcoming visit to Pyongyang will help achieve progress in the negotiations on the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization issue.
Xi’s opinion piece was published in Rodong Sinmun ahead of his visit on Thursday, reports Efe news.
The two-day visit by Xi will be a first by a Chinese President in the last 14 years and the first since he came to power in 2013. It follows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s four visits to China in the past year.
"We will actively contribute to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region by strengthening communication and coordination with the North Korea," Xi said.
The op-ed makes a clear reference to the denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, which have been stalled since the failed Hanoi summit in February.
In the Vietnamese capital, Pyongyang pushed for a gradual denuclearization process accompanied by the progressive lifting of sanctions, while Washington said that it will not lift any part of the sanctions as long as the regime does not eliminate its nuclear programmes along with chemical and biological weapons.
In the article published on Wednesday, Xi said that Beijing wants to resolve the concerns of the regime through dialog, in an apparent show of support to the denuclearization proposal by Pyongyang.
Xi’s statements indicate that with the visit, China will try to show the US – with which Beijing is currently amidst an ongoing trade dispute – that Beijing has great influence over North Korea.
Regardless of the power of Beijing to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table, China – as the main source of income for the regime – has the key to compliance with the strict sanctions that weigh on North Korea for its weapons tests and that are part of the "maximum pressure" strategy designed by the US.