NATIONAL

Talks of Xi’s visit to Pyongyang raise new speculations

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : Aug 19, 2018 - 16:54
  • Updated : Aug 19, 2018 - 17:26
Reports regarding Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plans visit to Pyongyang is raising new possibilities in developments surrounding North Korea.

On Saturday, the Straits Times reported that Xi is set to visit Pyongyang for the Sept. 9 celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the North Korean government. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Yonhap)

The report remains unconfirmed, but they have raised speculations about possible changes the developments regarding North Korea’s denuclearization.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the US Department of State reiterated its position that Beijing and Washington have been cooperating in the denuclearization issue, when asked about the effect Xi’s possible visit could have on denuclearization talks.

According to Yonhap, the Department of State also hinted that Beijing could play a bigger role in the matter.

The news agency quoted the Department of State as saying that China should use its “unique leverage” on Pyongyang to facilitate final, fully verified denuclearization to be achieved in US-North Korea talks.

Xi’s alleged plan to visit Pyongyang has also raised speculation the two communist allies could be seeking closer ties.

Pyongyang and Beijing have shown signs of mending strained ties in recent months, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meeting Xi twice in Beijing before his meeting with US President Donald Trump.

The news concerning Xi’ visit follows on the heels of rumors that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to make another trip to Pyongyang, and hints of positive developments in US-North Korea talks.

The US and North Korea have made little progress in denuclearization talks since the June 12 summit in Singapore.

However, the two Koreas agreeing to hold the third summit in Pyongyang during September without setting a specific date has prompted speculations that an important development between the US and North Korea is imminent.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)