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Xi's NKorea visit a chance to strengthen ties, influence US

By The News · 22 of June 2019 22:38:25
AP Photo,, No available, FILE - In this March 27, 2018, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shakes hands with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China. Kim’s fifth meeting with Xi continues his ambitious diplomatic outreach that has included summits with the leaders of the United States, South Korea and Russia in the past year and a half. Experts say Kim is attempting to form a united front with North Korea’s main ally China to strengthen his leverage in the stalled nuclear negotiations with the United States. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

BEIJING (AP) — In the highly formalized world of China-North Korea relations, Xi Jinping’s trip to Pyongyang carries enormous symbolic significance. Although less certain, it may also yield outcomes that could influence both countries’ relations with the U.S.

With tensions over trade, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Xi’s trip offers some welcome breathing space as the traditional allies work over irritants in relation to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Kim has now made four visits to China since March 2018, each time showing the proper deference to his country’s most important ally and provider of aid. The timing of Xi’s first visit as president ahead of the G-20 summit in Japan later this week seems to signal an intention that China remains a key player in peninsular affairs.