Trump only has one chance if North Korea calls his bluff

Ri Sol-ju

Kim Jong-un and Ri Sol-ju arrive in China and were welcomed by Xi Jinping and wife Peng LiyuanAFP Getty Images

Kim Jong Un on board his private train during his trip to China.

Since the Korean War left the Korean Peninsula divided, North and South Korea have held only three inter-Korean leadership summits.

A North Korean broadcaster has unveiled video clips showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's visit to China this week and his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The North's official media omitted Kim's reported comments opening dialogue with the United States that were carried in Chinese state media. Moon's spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom, said in a statement that Seoul welcomes the meeting between Kim and Trump and called it an encouraging sign that Kim expressed a firm willingness to engage in dialogue with South Korea and the United States during his visit to Beijing.

Kim is also seen visiting the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Temple of Heaven, and it also shows the two leaders exchanging gifts - with the cameras capturing the moment Kim and Ri are given a blue porcelain vase, silk and distilled Chinese liquor. Kim and Ri were shown waving out of a window as their vehicle drew away.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Kim will do what he believes is right for himself and his heirs.

Ri Sol-ju
Xi Jinping his wife Peng Liyuan North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju during lunch

Kim's visit from Sunday to Wednesday was shrouded in secrecy and only officially confirmed after he returned to Pyongyang. His famously reclusive father, Kim Jong Il, made his first visit to China as North Korean leader in May 2000, reportedly to consult with the Chinese leadership ahead of his summit with South Korea's then-leader, Kim Dae-jung. "It appears to be a well-calculated tactic that would help turn Kim's hostile and unfavourable image to a gentle and sane one".

The DPRK leader emphasized his country's determination to transform inter-Korean relations to boost an atmosphere of reconciliation and cooperation during the summits with Moon and Trump.

In the reports, "Kim reaffirms the traditional friendship between the two countries as if nothing had ever happened, when the relationship had plummeted to unprecedented lows", said Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

This was not the first time that Kim seized an initiative to start a diplomatic meeting. The government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, was also there, though at the far end of the table. While Beijing has signed on to increasingly harsh sanctions in the past year, including banning North Korean coal exports, shutting down North Korean businesses and Chinese-North Korean joint ventures operating within China, and reducing North Korea's oil imports, it cooperated largely to prevent the United States from turning to more extreme measures in the face of North Korean intransigence. Observers argue that the meeting elevates Kim's status as the legitimate leader of his nuclear-armed country and again makes China a major player in the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

"We saw many high-ranking officials with Kim, but nearly none from the military. North Korea has repeatedly reneged on previous pledges after receiving the rewards, ditching promises to let global inspectors check its nuclear facilities and others", author Kim Jin-myung argued.

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