Kim Jong Un strengthens relationship by visiting China for third time

Tony Schwartz

The drills come just days after President Donald Trump announced the suspension of long-running USA joint exercises with South Korea - aimed at deterring North Korea - calling them expensive and "provocative".

Security was tight at the Beijing airport where paramilitary police prevented journalists from shooting photos.

A stretch limousine, with a golden emblem similar to one North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has used previously, arrives with motorcycle escorts as a guard of honor salutes at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Tuesday.

Kim is expected to fly into Beijing and security preparations are already underway, Japan's Nikkei business daily quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying.

The imbalance helps explain North Korea's focus on developing nuclear weapons, which grant it a key advantage over South Korea and were the focus of last week's landmark summit between Kim and Trump.

Trump in the past has said Kim has changed his mind after his talks with Xi.

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In a joint statement with Trump following the Singapore summit, Kim pledged to "work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

Analysts said that the frequency of exchanges between Xi and Kim was unprecedented, and a sign North Korea sought China's support to raise its leverage in future negotiations with the US.

"No matter the changes in the worldwide and regional situation, China's party and government's resolute position on being dedicated to consolidating and developing Sino-North Korea relations will not change", the report cited Xi as saying.

A trip by Kim to meet Xi to brief him on his summit with Trump, and to discuss likely next moves, had been widely anticipated. He made the statement after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12. Kim's presence in Beijing and the schedule of his visit, including any meetings with Xi, have not been confirmed.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang, North Korea on May 9, 2018.

A similar convoy of vehicles was seen leaving the state guesthouse in the direction of the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing on Tuesday afternoon.

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South Korea's foreign ministry spokesman said South Korea and China shared the strategic goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

Kim's visit also reiterates the power China wields along the Korean Peninsula, having always been a communist ally of North Korea.

What has come out of the summit, so far, seems like a version of China's "dual suspension" strategy - a plan that asks North Korea to suspend nuclear testing in return for a suspension of military exercises.

BEIJING-China provided the impetus for the halt of U.S. Joint exercises with Japan and other countries in the Pacific will continue.

The U.S. -South Korean exercise calendar hits a high point every spring with the Foal Eagle and Max Thunder drills, which both wrapped up last month. However, Trump just imposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods and is proposing 10% tariffs on $200 billion more.

Trump faced backlash for his decision to cease joint military exercises with the Japanese and South Korean military on the peninsula when the decision was made public earlier this week.

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Regarding the alliance, we are dealing with all the issues under the premise that we maintain the ironclad joint defense posture. In comments reported by Reuters , he said there was still "a great deal of work to do. a long way to go with North Korea".

Korea talks with the intention of reducing the influence and the threat of the USA military on the Korean Peninsula.

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