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Xi Jinping to make first North Korean visit

Ecuador President Rafael Correa holds a welcoming ceremony for Chinese President Xi Jinping on November 18, 2016. (Chancellery of Ecuador/Flickr)
August 20, 2018

North Korea’s international relations continue to rise, as another summit between Kim Jong Un and another foreign leader has been scheduled.

Chinese President Xi Jinping accepted an invitation from Kim to attend the 70th anniversary celebration of North Korea’s founding to be held in Pyongyang, Fox News reported Sunday.

North Korea’s celebratory events will be held Sept. 9. This will be the fourth meeting between the two leaders.

Additionally, the visit will be Xi’s first to North Korea, and the first visit by a Chinese president to North Korea in 13 years.

Kim has taken three trips to China this year, two of which were taken after the June summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump. Kim’s first meeting to China in March was his first visit outside North Korea since he became leader in 2011.

Kim and Xi’s discussions reportedly focused on “economic reform and cooperation,” but may have also included denuclearization talks. It’s not yet clear what their next meeting will include.

China is participating in joint talks on denuclearization with North Korea and the U.S., but has been criticized for impeding the talks, however.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said: “I fear that North Korea and China are trying to run the clock out. China has pulled North Korea back because we’re in a trade dispute with China.”

Graham also said he believed China is attempting to use North Korea to persuade the U.S. to ease tariffs against China. In July, the U.S. and China exchanged billions worth of tariffs on one another’s exports, amounting to $17 billion in tariffs and retaliatory tariffs.

China is considered the only major ally of North Korea, although trade between the two countries has declined as China has enforced the United Nations’ economic sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear activities and weapons tests. China has tried to maintain influence over North Korea in spite of the sanctions, leading to some increases in trade with the North.

The U.S. has also warned China, Russia, and other countries from straying from the U.N. sanctions, threatening consequences if they lift sanctions.

“We expect the Russians and all countries to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions and enforce sanctions on North Korea,” Pompeo said, according to a report by Fortune. “Any violation that detracts from the world’s goal of finally fully denuclearizing North Korea would be something that America would take very seriously.”

Since the summit with President Trump, North Korea’s relationships with global powers appear to be on the rise, as Kim will also meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and may accept an invitation to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.