BEIJING — North Korea’s Kim Jong Un made his first-ever foreign trip as leader to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said Wednesday.
China has confirmed leader Kim Jong-un has visited Beijing, and says it won a pledge from him to work towards denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.
During the visit from Sunday to Wednesday which came at the invitation of Xi, Kim held talks with the Chinese president who hosted a banquet to welcome the North Korean leader and his wife Ri Sol Ju, Xinhua said.
“I have had successful talks with General Secretary Xi Jinping on developing relations between the two parties and the two countries, our respective domestic situation, maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and other issues,” Kim said at the banquet.
The North Korean leader further termed the China visit his “solemn duty”. He also said that his country is committed to denuclearisation.
Beijing has traditionally been the closest ally of secretive North Korea, but ties have been frayed by the North’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing of tough UN sanctions in response.
But, relations between China and North Korea had soured as Beijing has backed tough United Nations sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its missile and nuclear tests.
Xinhua said Mr Kim told Mr Xi that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tensions and put forward proposals for peace talks.
“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearisation on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il-sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong-il,” Kim Jong-un said, according to Xinhua.
Analysts had earlier suggested Beijing had been sidelined by Pyongyang’s approaches to Seoul and Washington, but Kim’s visit puts China firmly back at the centre of the diplomatic scrum.
“Both Comrade Chairman and I have personally experienced and witnessed the development of China-DPRK relationship,” Xi said, using the initials for North Korea’s official name.
Russian rocket fails in the mid air, crew lands safely
COSMODROME—Booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and US astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed in mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without any harm.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, quoted by Interfax, said the problem occurred when the first and second stages of the booster rocket were in the process of separating.
The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A Reuters reporter who observed the launch from around 1 km away said that it had gone smoothly in its initial stage.
“Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members,” NASA said in a statement.
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