Kim Jong-un meets Chinese
Kim Jong-un meets Chinese

Multilateral summits possible: Chinese analysts

Ri Sol Ju, wife of Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), watches a ballet performed by the Chinese art troupe in Pyongyang, the DPRK, April 14, 2018. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s meeting with a senior Chinese official carried forward traditional bilateral ties to a new phase and showcased China’s effort to promote possible summits between North Korea, South Korea and the US, Chinese analysts said on Sunday.

Song Tao, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of the China (CPC) Central Committee was received by Kim on Saturday during his visit for the April Spring Friendship Art Festival in Pyongyang, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sunday.

“Exchanged in earnest at the meeting were profound views on the important matters of mutual concern of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the CPC and the international situation,” KCNA reported.

Song’s visit to North Korea brings traditional bilateral ties back to a new level, Zheng Jiyong, director of the Shanghai-based Fudan University Center for Korean Studies, told the Global Times.

China-North Korea relations were restored when Kim visited China last month. Song’s Saturday visit consolidated traditional bilateral ties built by older-generation leaders, Cui Zhiying, director of the Korean Peninsula Research Center at Tongji University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The April Spring Friendship Art Festival will not be the last communication between China and North Korea. More cultural, sports and people-to-people exchanges will follow, Cui said.

Kim was quoted by KCNA as saying that he “would positively carry forward and develop traditional DPRK-China friendship into a fresh phase of development… by further strengthening bilateral relations… including exchange of high-level delegations and undertaking brisk cooperation and visits in various fields and sectors.”

Song has played an important role in promoting Sino-North Korean relations and sending him to meet Kim would help China exert its influence on realizing peace and stability on the peninsula, Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

“Song’s visit also showcases China’s support for the denuclearization of the peninsula and its effort to promote summits between North Korea, South Korea and the United States,” Lü said.

It is also a tradition to hold bilateral talks before major diplomatic events for North Korea and China, which could help safeguard the stability of the Northeast Asian region, Lü noted.

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