A train believed to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un left a station in the Chinese capital on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Kim was invited to Beijing by Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit China amid negotiations for a second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump.
Kim and his delegation are now expected to begin the 13-hour trip to the town of Dandong, which sits on the border between China and North Korea. Kim is expected to spend a total of four days in China, entering the country Monday and leaving early on Thursday, CNN informs.
This was Kim’s third visit to Beijing and fourth to China since March 2018, in what was his first trip outside North Korea since assuming power in 2011. He arrived in Beijing in his famed armored train early Tuesday morning and held meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang would not comment on the purpose or timing of Kim’s visit at a briefing Tuesday, saying only that the two countries were making “joint efforts to uphold peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”
Analysts have speculated that Kim may be using the trip to both shore up relations between Beijing and Pyongyang and remind the Trump administration that North Korea has potential diplomatic and economic partners beyond the United States and South Korea, CNN adds.
“It’s pretty clear he’s not putting all his eggs in one U.S. basket because he has a bigger goal in mind — achieving prosperity, achieving inter-Korean peace and reunification but on Pyongyang’s terms, and engaging diplomatically with like-minded countries to show the world that Kim loves and promotes peace more than Trump,” said Duyeon Kim, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for New American Security.
Kim Jong-un’s visit comes as the United States and China concluded high-level meetings in Beijing Wednesday to bring about an end to the trade war between the two countries, the first face-to-face meetings between the two sides since President Trump and Xi effectively called a truce in the trade war last month.