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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Chinese president discuss affairs of state at summit meeting

Chinese president Xi Jinping’s diplomatic trip to North Korea has reportedly cemented the two countries’ enduring relationship and seemingly his own personal friendship with Kim Jong-un.

The Pyongyang strongman beamed as he led Xi on a stroll through the gardens of the city’s state guest house and hosted a lunch with the two leaders’ wives.

But the respective spouses – China’s Peng Liyuan and the North’s Ri Sol Ju – were not privy to their husbands’ conversation and trailed the men by 15 yards. 

However, Peng – a contemporary folk singer – is actively involved in Chinese politics and sits on the country’s legislative political advisory body.

State media reports from Pyongyang in the aftermath of the visit claim that the Asian nations enjoy an ‘invincible’ partnership because of their mutual occupation by Japan in the early 20th century.

With a trade war brewing between Washington and Beijing, Xi’s renewed influence with Kim Jong-un comes ahead of a G20 showdown with Donald Trump next week. 

The Pyongyang strongman (right) beamed as he led Xi (left) on a stroll through the gardens of the city’s state guest house. But the respective spouses – China’s Peng Liyuan and the North’s Ri Sol Ju – were not privy to their husbands’ conversation and trailed the men by 15 yards

The two couples also enjoyed a lunch at the end of Xi's state visit which reportedly cemented the two countries' enduring relationship

The two couples also enjoyed a lunch at the end of Xi’s state visit which reportedly cemented the two countries’ enduring relationship

Peng (far left) - a contemporary folk singer - is actively involved in Chinese politics and sits on the country's legislative political advisory body

Peng (far left) – a contemporary folk singer – is actively involved in Chinese politics and sits on the country’s legislative political advisory body

And amid the anti-China rhetoric coming out of the White House, Xi will be keen to remind Trump of its influence with nuclear-armed Pyongyang, while increasingly looking to Japan – a key US ally in the region – to serve as a hedge against growing American protectionism.

Relations between Tokyo, Beijing, and both Koreas are still heavily affected by Japan’s expansionism in the first half of the 20th century, with Pyongyang’s state media criticising Japan on a near-daily basis.

Saturday’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper in North Korea dedicated five pages to the second day of Xi’s visit to Pyongyang, and carried a separate editorial stating how the ‘sacred period of the anti-Japanese struggle has become the foundation of the DPRK-China friendship’.

‘DPRK-China relationship is an invincible friendship that firmly combines military camaraderie and trust,’ it stated, using the abbreviation of North Korea’s official name.

Xi, in a rare opinion piece penned for the newspaper earlier this week, also said citizens of the countries jointly opposed a ‘foreign invasion’ and supported each other in the pursuit of socialism. 

Like North Korea, Beijing’s Communist authorities also regularly denounce Tokyo over historical issues.

State media reports from Pyongyang in the aftermath of the visit claim that the Asian nations enjoy an 'invincible' partnership because of their mutual occupation by Japan in the early 20th century

State media reports from Pyongyang in the aftermath of the visit claim that the Asian nations enjoy an ‘invincible’ partnership because of their mutual occupation by Japan in the early 20th century

And amid the anti-China rhetoric coming out of the White House, Xi will be keen to remind Trump of its influence with nuclear-armed Pyongyang and its leader Kim Jong-un

And amid the anti-China rhetoric coming out of the White House, Xi will be keen to remind Trump of its influence with nuclear-armed Pyongyang and its leader Kim Jong-un

Relations between Tokyo, Beijing, and both Koreas are still heavily affected by Japan's expansionism in the first half of the 20th century, with Pyongyang's state media criticising Japan on a near-daily basis

Relations between Tokyo, Beijing, and both Koreas are still heavily affected by Japan’s expansionism in the first half of the 20th century, with Pyongyang’s state media criticising Japan on a near-daily basis

Saturday's Rodong Sinmun newspaper in North Korea dedicated five pages to the second day of Xi's visit to Pyongyang, and carried a separate editorial stating how the 'sacred period of the anti-Japanese struggle has become the foundation of the DPRK-China friendship'

Saturday’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper in North Korea dedicated five pages to the second day of Xi’s visit to Pyongyang, and carried a separate editorial stating how the ‘sacred period of the anti-Japanese struggle has become the foundation of the DPRK-China friendship’

Xi, in a rare opinion piece penned for the newspaper earlier this week, also said citizens of the countries jointly opposed a 'foreign invasion' and supported each other in the pursuit of socialism

Xi, in a rare opinion piece penned for the newspaper earlier this week, also said citizens of the countries jointly opposed a ‘foreign invasion’ and supported each other in the pursuit of socialism

Xi is the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years, after relations deteriorated over Pyongyang’s nuclear programmes and Beijing’s subsequent backing of UN sanctions.

But when Kim embarked on a flurry of diplomacy last year, Xi – as the leader of North Korea’s main trading partner and key aid provider – was the first head of state he met.

As Kim expands his diplomatic circle, Japan finds itself battling to remain involved in North Korean discussions.

Tokyo, one of the most hawkish of the major powers on the isolated North, has received some of Pyongyang’s harshest rhetoric – as well as missiles launched over its territory.

The dovish South Korean President Moon Jae-in – who brokered nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang – has also stressed the independence struggle against Japan is at the heart of both Koreas’ national identity.

Seoul and Pyongyang’s whirlwind of diplomacy has died down since a second Trump-Kim summit in February ended without a deal, and analysts say North Korea now may seek a new mediator for its deadlocked negotiations with Washington.

North Korea’s official news agency KCNA also wrote Kim and Xi had reached agreement on ‘important issues’ in their five summits over the past year. 

Xi is the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years, after relations deteriorated over Pyongyang's nuclear programmes and Beijing's subsequent backing of UN sanctions

Xi is the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years, after relations deteriorated over Pyongyang’s nuclear programmes and Beijing’s subsequent backing of UN sanctions

When Kim embarked on a flurry of diplomacy last year, Xi - as the leader of North Korea's main trading partner and key aid provider - was the first head of state he met

When Kim embarked on a flurry of diplomacy last year, Xi – as the leader of North Korea’s main trading partner and key aid provider – was the first head of state he met

North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un together with his wife Ri Sol-Ju  sees off President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at Pyongyang International Airport

North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un together with his wife Ri Sol-Ju  sees off President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at Pyongyang International Airport

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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