Chinese leader calls for 'smooth' Kim-Trump talks

Erika Holt
March 13, 2018

The South Korean leader visited Beijing in December on a trip aimed at thawing tense bilateral relations strained over Seoul's decision to host a U.S. missile defence system that Beijing sees as a threat to its own security.

North Korea's foreign trade, more than 90 percent of which passes through China, has taken a major hit since Beijing agreed to increasingly harsh U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at pressuring the North into ceasing its nuclear and missile tests and rejoining denuclearization talks.

Adding to the risk is the fact that there's been little public preparation for the development in the three countries most concerned - the US, North Korea and South Korea - and that could put pressure on the leaders if things go badly.

"China has been calling for both South and North Korea to improve their relationship, push for reconciliation and cooperation, and support dialogue between North Korea and the United States", Xi was quoted as saying. That means the Japanese and the South Koreans.

"The recent change by North Korea is the result of the maximum pressure that Japan, the US and South Korea have imposed in cooperation", Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono said Monday after his meeting with Suh.

A Democratic opponent of Trump, Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA, said on NBC, "I want to see our president succeed, because if he succeeds, America succeeds".

"Well, they say, well, [former President Barack] Obama could have done that".

Trump administration officials have said there will be no more conditions imposed on North Korea before a meeting of the two nations' leaders.

South Korea's National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong, center, Cho Yoon-je, the South Korean Ambassador to the USA, right, and National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon, left, make an announcement about North Korea and the Trump administration last week. "I think it's time", Trump said.

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Bloomberg cites the professor of North Korean studies Koh Yu-hwan at Dongguk University in Seoul, who believes that any treaty involving denuclearization would require the remove its military presence in South Korea.

South Korean officials last Thursday announced that Trump accepted North Korea's invitation.

Twenty-seven percent said they welcomed and trusted the North.

The meeting between Trump and Kim would be the first time a sitting USA president has met with North Korea's leader since the Korean War.

An administration official said it wasn't unusual that the North Koreans hadn't responded yet and that Tillerson has no plans, as yet, to meet with the North Korean foreign minister - a typical step in the run-up to any summit meeting.

The U.S. and South Korea hold military maneuvers every year.

Brian Padden reported this story for VOANews. Mario Ritter adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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