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China’s Xi Jinping briefs Trump on his meeting with Kim Jong Un

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and President Donald Trump at the square outside the east gate of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 9, 2017. (Pang Xinglei/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)
March 28, 2018

Chinese state media on Tuesday confirmed that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un traveled and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, in an unprecedented first visit outside his home country since becoming supreme leader in 2011.

It wasn’t long after the meeting that China let President Donald Trump know about the “unofficial” visit, which was initially shrouded in mystery.

“Received message last night from XI JINPING of China that his meeting with KIM JONG UN went very well and that KIM looks forward to his meeting with me,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost!”

“For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility,” Trump also tweeted. “Now there is a good chance Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity. Look forward to our meeting!”

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The North Korea-China meeting comes ahead of a meeting with South Korea next month slated to be held in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea. That meeting is said to prepare for the three-nation meeting with the United States, North and South Korea sometime before May.

The meeting was at first shrouded in mystery, as it was not initially confirmed, but rather speculated that Kim had traveled to China for an unannounced meeting.

American Military News first reported on Monday that Kim made a surprise visit to China, according to three anonymous sources who spoke to Bloomberg.

Trump had accepted an invitation from Kim on behalf of South Korean delegates to the U.S. earlier this month, and now the U.S., North and South Korea are slated to meet for a tri-nation summit sometime before May.

The White House confirmed earlier this month that President Trump and Kim would meet “sometime” before May, on the invitation of Kim himself.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) issued commentary last week that finally hinted at confirmation for the upcoming meeting between North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea.

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A possible meeting between the nations was originally the product of South Korea’s efforts in February during the Winter Olympics.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in first invited North Korea to a summit planned for next month in the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two nations on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim then invited President Trump, through a South Korean envoy, to a future meeting.

While many U.S. officials are skeptical about North Korea following through with any formal meeting, supporters of diplomacy say that even the prospect of talks is an encouraging change.

For the better part of last year, North Korea continued to defy international officials’ pleas to cease countless nuclear missile and bomb tests, even going so far as to threaten the U.S. territory of Guam after fierce words from Trump demanding a halt to their increased military activity.

South Korea has stated that denuclearization could be a topic of discussion during the formal meeting of the nations. But while North Korea seems to have at least paused its nuclear activity for the time being, the rogue nation has not confirmed any sort of agenda for the meeting at this point, and giving up their prized nuclear weapons indefinitely be an unexpected result.