Beijing (GPA) – Chinese President Xi Jinping is rumored to be planning a trip to the DPRK for the country’s 70th anniversary in what would be a crucial show of unity in the face of renewed US pressure.
kim jong un china dprk xi
Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un
Image: KCNA

The Singaporean news outlet The Straits Times reported over the weekend that Chinese President Xi Jinping may be planning a trip to the DPRK (or North Korea) to meet with Marshal Kim Jong Un. The times did not offer a source for the information but further also further alleged they know a specific date for the meeting.

The Times claims Xi’s trip to the DPRK is scheduled to line up with the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the country. This would mean Xi’s trip would be coming up in just under a month on September 9th despite there being no official confirmation from China.

This wouldn’t be out of character for the DPRK or China, however, as the two countries’ leaders have had all of their other recent meetings without much previous announcement. The first time Kim Jong Un traveled to meet Xi he appeared basically by surprise after taking a train from Pyongyang to Beijing.

Related: Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un Meet in Beijing

If this meeting between the Kim and Xi actually ends up happening, this will mean some big things for the current condition of global diplomacy around the DPRK.

Although US President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong Un back in June of this year, talks between the Pyongyang and Washington have seemed to have hit a rough patch in the past few weeks. Much of the latest tension started after the United Nations (UN) issued a report that alleges that the DPRK had restarted some of their weapons programs and is also in violation of UN sanctions.

This caused a stir in the US where denunciations were made by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley who was angry that Pyongyang that had managed to get one over on the “international community” to bring in minimal amounts of money. Haley’s anger wasn’t just directed at Pyongyang, however, as she also called out the nations aiding Korea in their “crimes,” primarily her favorite nemesis. Russia.

China was also brought up in the UN’s accusations which shouldn’t come as a surprise as Beijing has historically always refused to abandon the DPRK. This is illustrative of the relationship between the two allies that China has continued to stand by their neighbor as the whole world applies pressure.

Related: UN Accuses China & Russia of DPRK of Sanctions Violations in New Report

This is important in the current state of negotiations between the US and DPRK due to the fact that the Trump administration, having already received concessions from Pyongyang, has refused to lift any sanctions until all their demands are met. Korea has already returned the remains of veterans from the Korean War, as well as released several alleged US spies, and most significantly, destroyed several of the facilities that were crucial to their defense programs.

This has led the leadership in the DPRK to call out Washington’s pig-headedness and “gangster-like” negotiating tactics.

Much like China’s support for the DPRK, this style of negotiating by the US is also historically consistent. Similar to all the US Presidents before him, Trump has made requests of the DPRK and then refused to offer anything in return until the country has fully complied with them. These are the thuggish tactics that have always been employed by the US show that they still don’t see the DPRK as an equal negotiating partner and that all conditions of agreements with Washington are meant as immediate demands for submission as opposed to actual pathways to peace.

If this upcoming meeting between Xi and Kim actually happens, it could provide a much-needed boost to Pyongyang’s negotiating position. Korea is China’s ally and Beijing does not want to see their neighbor become the next victim of a US regime change operation and would do good to remind Washinton of this.

The meeting will also have added significance as the first time a Chinese President has visited the DPRK since the country began their nuclear weapons program in 2006. The visit by Xi would leave no doubt that China acknowledges Korea is a nuclear-armed state and will have to be treated by one by Haley’s precious international community.

Related: North Korea Has Good Reason to Be Wary of a Trump Deal

Pyongyang has no reason to not seek peace with the US but this is likely to be impossible if the diplomatic environment remains poisoned by the United States brutish tactics. If Xi does visit Korea on such an important day this will be an important display of unity between China and Korea and should remind the US that there won’t be any US-imposed solution to the Korea standoff. Korea, and therefore China are both seeking equitable negotiations, but if they don’t get them, the force of the Chinese security state will make Washington think twice about trying anything funny.