(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)
At the beginning of the new year (2019), Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and President of the State, received the first foreign guest of 2019 -Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Chairman of the State Council, Kim Jong Un. From January 7th to 10th – Kim Jong Un paid a visit to China. This is the fourth time he has set foot on Chinese soil after three visits to China in March, May, and June last year. In 10 months, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un met four times, and each time they had a long and in-depth exchange. What have they been discussing?
Through the following keywords, let’s take a look.
Keyword①: traditional friendship – New Year meeting, the time is unusual. “Comrade Chairperson’s visit to China at the beginning of the New Year in 2019, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, fully demonstrates that Comrade Chairperson attaches great importance to the traditional friendship between China and North Korea, and his friendship with the Chinese Communist Party and people.” During this meeting – at the beginning – Xi Jinping expressed his appreciation for Kim Jong Un’s visit to China.
On January 8th, 2019, Xi Jinping held talks with Kim Jong Un who arrived in Beijing that day. Prior to the talks, Xi Jinping held a welcoming ceremony for Kim Jong Un in the North Hall of the Great Hall of the People. China and North Korea are connected by mountains and rivers, and they are both Socialist countries. With common ideals and beliefs and profound Revolutionary friendship, the older generation of leaders of the two countries trusted and supported each other and wrote a good story in the history of international relations. It is not difficult to understand why Xi Jinping used to describe the close exchanges between generations of leaders of China and North Korea when he met with Kim Jong Un for the first-time last year. In the history of the development of China-DPRK relations, high-level exchanges have always played the most important leading and promoting role. Meeting four times in ten-months, the two leaders interacted so closely, it is precisely the inheritance and vivid practice of good traditions that also demonstrated the strong vitality of the friendship between China and North Korea.
On March 28th, 2018, Xi Jinping held talks with Kim Jong Un in the Great Hall of the People. At the moment when China-DPRK relations have opened a new historical chapter with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un have met again at a time point of “important significance which sees the inheriting of the past and building on the future”. The meaning is self-evident. During this meeting, Xi Jinping once again emphasized that the two sides should maintain high-level exchanges, strengthen strategic communication, and deepen friendly exchanges and cooperation, so as to chart a path for the long-term, healthy and stable development of China-DPRK relations.
Keyword②: The situation on the peninsula. “The situation on the Korean Peninsula has eased last year. The important role China has played in this is obvious to all. The DPRK highly appreciates and sincerely appreciates it.” During this meeting, Kim Jong Un expressed his appreciation and gratitude to China. In 2018, with the joint efforts of China and the DPRK and relevant parties, significant progress has been made in the political settlement of the Peninsula issue. The timeline of the four meetings was carefully sorted out, and the consideration was intriguing, which shows the positive and constructive role China has played on the peninsula issue. For the first time, Xi Jinping used the expression “the timing is special and significant” to call on all parties to support the improvement of relations between the North and the South on the peninsula, and work together to promote peace and talks. The second time was at “a critical moment in the profound and complex evolution of the situation on the Korean peninsula.” Xi Jinping expressed his appreciation for the DPRK’s previous announcement of the cessation of nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, and the abandonment of a northern nuclear test site. The third time was Kim Jong-un’s “special trip to China” after his first meeting with US leaders. Xi Jinping pointed out that he hoped that the DPRK and the United States would implement the results of the summit meeting, and all parties concerned would form a joint force to jointly advance the peace process on the peninsula.
On June 19th, 2018, Xi Jinping held talks with Kim Jong Un who arrived in Beijing that day. Prior to the talks, Xi Jinping held a welcoming ceremony for Kim Jong Un in the North Hall of the Great Hall of the People. This time, Xi Jinping emphasized that the general trend of peaceful dialogue on the peninsula has taken shape, and it has become the universal expectation and consensus of the international community to continue the talks and achieve results. The political settlement of the Peninsula issue is facing a rare historical opportunity. Xi Jinping once again clarified China’s position with the “four supports”: -Support the DPRK to continue to adhere to the direction of denuclearization on the Peninsula; —Support the continuous improvement of relations between North and South; -Support the DPRK and the United States in holding a summit meeting and achieve results; -Support the parties concerned to resolve their legitimate concerns through dialogue.
Kim Jong Un said that the DPRK will work hard for the second meeting between the leaders of the DPRK and the US to achieve results welcomed by the international community. Xi Jinping expressed the hope that the DPRK and the US will meet each other halfway. China is willing to work with the DPRK and relevant parties to play a positive and constructive role in maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, achieving denuclearization on the peninsula and long-term stability in the region.
Keyword ③: economic development – During the four meetings, Xi Jinping expressed his appreciation for the series of positive measures taken by the DPRK in developing the economy and improving people’s livelihood and the many results it has achieved. Especially since the Third Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in April 2018 made the decision to concentrate on economic development and improve people’s living standards, Xi Jinping has repeatedly expressed China’s support.
On May 8th, 2018, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un met in Dalian. “I believe that the Korean people will continue to make new and greater achievements in the cause of Socialist construction.” During this meeting, Xi Jinping expressed expectations. Kim Jong Un said: “The DPRK considers China’s development experience to be very valuable and hopes to come to China for more field visits and exchanges.” During his previous visit to China, Kim Jong-un visited the “Be the First to Act and Forge ahead—The Exhibition of Innovation Achievements of the Chinese Academy of Sciences since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China”, the National Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Park of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Beijing Rail Transit Command Center. This time, he visited the Yizhuang branch of Tongrentang Pharmaceutical Factory of Beijing Tongrentang Co., Ltd., and inspected the related traditional technology and modern Chinese medicine processing production line.
On January 9th, 2019, Kim Jong Un visited again the Yizhuang branch of Tongrentang Pharmaceutical Factory of Beijing Tongrentang Co., Ltd., and inspected the traditional technology and modern Chinese medicine processing production line on the spot. “I have visited China four times in less than a year, and I am deeply impressed by China’s economic and social development achievements and the spirit of the Chinese people’s hard work.” Kim Jong Un said. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China. In the course of 70 years, the Chinese Communist Party has led the Chinese people to a historical leap from standing up, getting rich, and getting stronger. Now that Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the Workers’ Party of Korea has achieved many positive results in implementing the new strategic line. There are reasons to expect that the friendly exchanges, unity and cooperation between the two countries will surely create a better future together.
Xinhua News Agency reporters: Wang Zhuolun (王卓伦), Zheng Mingda (郑明达)
Original Chinese Language Article: