U.S. President Donald Trump called for continued pressure against Kim Jong Un, after China said the North Korean leader expressed an openness to disarmament talks during a surprise visit to Beijing, Bloomberg informed.
Trump struck an optimistic tone after the unexpected summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying in a pair of early morning tweets Wednesday that Kim might “do what is right for his people and for humanity” and give up his nuclear weapons. “In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost!” Trump said.
Trump’s tweets followed Chinese and North Korean statements confirming Kim’s secretive four-day swing through China, his first foreign trip since taking power in 2011. China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Kim expressed an openness to discussing his weapons program during a planned May summit with Trump, while North Korean reports made no mention of denuclearization.
“North Korea sees an opportunity with these summits to message to the world that it’s not isolated and that it has diplomatic options,” Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. State Department official who worked on North Korean issues, said by email. “The Kim-Xi summit is the latest step in that game.”
Kim’s clandestine visit — Chinese officials refused for two days to confirm reports of his motorcade and train movements — shakes up the diplomatic landscape ahead of the potential Trump meeting. Chinese media reports included Kim’s first public remarks indicating he would discuss his nuclear arsenal with Trump, who has upended decades of U.S. policy by agreeing to meet the North Korean leader without a clear disarmament plan.
“The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said, according to Xinhua.