While top leaders of China, South Korea and Japan prepared to meet over a triangular summit in Tokyo on Wednesday, May 9, reports said a high-ranking official from North Korea might have met Chinese President Xi Jinping in China’s port city of Dalian (located around 530 kilometres from Pyongyang) on Tuesday, May 8, amid tight security, Associated Press reported. It said a North Korean plane was seen parked at the city’s airport.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency even went to the extent of saying that the plane carried North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to China although it did not produce any evidence, AP said. Japan’s Kyodo News Service said the aircraft departed North Korea on Tuesday, AP added.
Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post cited two unofficial sources to say that Jinping went to Dalian to meet the guest official and preside over the launch of sea trials for China’s inaugural aircraft carrier, built entirely indigenously.
Internet users in China said security was beefed up in Dalian and flight delays happened. Others claimed to have spotted Red Flag limousines used by the statesmen, AP said.
Kim made a secret visit to China in an armoured train in March end in his first-ever foreign trip since taking over as North Korea’s leader in December 2011. The event occurred after it was publicised that US President Donald Trump would meet Kim over a historic summit around May end of early June.
North Korea and Dalian do not have direct scheduled flights, it was reported by AP.
China has been making all sorts of engagements with North Korea and its neighbours to ensure that it doesn’t lose out to the US-backed peace initiative in the Korean Peninsula in which Washington’s ally South Korean has also played a big role. Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a historic Korean summit on April 27 where they both vowed to end the Korean War which is technically still on and also denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.
China has been North Korea’s only ally in the region though their relations took a nosedive of late over Pyongyang’s reckless nuclear ambitions and also China’s enforcing of the United Nation’s sanctions imposed on the latter to curb its tests.
China indispensable for North Korea peace, says its media
China’s Global Times also came up with a piece on Monday, May 7, explaining why China plays an indispensable role for peace in the Korean Peninsula. It said the West’s viewpoint that China was afraid of getting sidelined in the diplomatic parleys that are being conducted between North Korea, South Korea and the US was “misleading” since China had a fundamentally indispensable role in achieving peace in the peninsula.
It said in the short-term, China is an “indispensable stability guarantor for a possible unsuccessful US-North Korea summit”. It said although the US has stressed time again on the direct talks between US President Donald Trump and Kim yet its unpredictability makes it necessary to be prepared for the worst scenario. It said the US was inconsistent in its approach two cases of nuclear proliferation in the world – one in Iran and other in North Korea and China feels its role could play big if the US’s unpredictability fails to serve the real cause.
It said as a mid-term benefit, China will serve as an “indispensable facilitator for a political and peaceful resolution of the peninsula issue”. It said China was one of the signatories of the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean conflict and that makes an exclusion of China from the peace initiative in Korean Peninsula “unrealistic”.
And finally, in the long term, the Global Times piece said China would act as an “indispensable companion” in North Korea’s smooth social and economic transition. It said long-term stability of the peninsula would depend on North Korea’ economic growth and that China would “naturally” be the most important party to help Pyongyang overcome the economic transition and find itself linked with the outer world.
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