Executive Intelligence Review


Kim Jong-un’s Third Visit to China—A View from Global Times

June 21, 2018 (EIRNS)—North Korean leader Kim Jong-un conducted his third visit to China over June 19-20, during which he met once again with President Xi Jinping. Da Zhigang, Director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, discusses the subjects of the meetings as he sees them in China’s Global Times today. He writes that the first visit, in March, aimed mainly to fix the strained relations with China. The second, in May, was to exchange ideas before Kim’s meeting with President Trump.

In this third trip, besides sharing a first-hand report of that summit with President Xi, Kim may have discussed China’s role, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, in lifting sanctions. “Lifting sanctions as soon as possible is a prerequisite for North Korea’s economic revival, and Pyongyang needs to turn to Beijing for help,” Da writes.


“Kim’s visit might also foreshadow Pyongyang’s shift [from weapons buildup] to economic revival, as North Korea has the need to learn from China’s experience in establishing special economic zones and reform and opening up. A group from the Workers’ Party of Korea visited China on May 16 to observe the country’s economy, agriculture and technology. It shows that North Korea is trying to learn the experiences of economic development from other countries.”

Kim may also be asking for Beijing’s assistance.

“China is regarded as a powerful backer of North Korea’s politics and diplomacy by the foreign media, and Pyongyang may ask for necessary aid as it works toward economic reforms and complete denuclearization. By supporting North Korea, China will promote further peace and stability on the peninsula and help Pyongyang work toward opening up. An open North Korea will be essential for logistics and trade cooperation.

“The crux of the regional integration in Northeast Asia is the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and its peace regime. With China promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, North Korea could be an important country connecting Europe in the west and Japan in the east. Kim’s visit not only shows North Korea’s friendly relations with China, but also reflects the urgent need to consolidate the hard-earned achievements on the peninsula after the Kim-Trump summit....”

An unsigned Global Times editorial dated June 20, adds the idea that,

“Some Chinese scholars hold that the China-North Korea relationship could develop into a new strategic partnership if the two make an effort to strengthen bilateral ties in the future. Such a strategic partnership would play a constructive role in the region. North Korea’s desire for peaceful development, to ease relations with other countries and build a new international environment, has presented an opportunity for Sino-North Korean cooperation.”

Though not itself a party organ, Global Times is owned by People’s Daily, the organ of the Communist Party of China.