Kim Jong Un heads home via train after two-day Beijing visit


Prior to departing Beijing, North Korean state media reported that Kim once again extended an invitation to Xi to visit Pyongyang, which Xi reportedly accepted.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said North Korea should take bold steps towards denuclearisation, such as abandoning long-range missiles, to extract USA concessions amid a prolonged stalemate in their nuclear negotiations.

The trip - Kim's fourth to China since March - suggests negotiations over North Korea's nuclear arsenal are gaining momentum after months without high-level diplomatic exchanges.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told Kim Jong-un that Beijing supports a second summit between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump, adding that he hopes they "meet each other halfway", according to state media.

A special train believed to be carrying Kim Jong Un departed Beijing Wednesday after a two-day visit by the North Korean leader to the Chinese capital.

Kim "raised concern" about the impasse in talks with the USA, according to Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency, which said the Chinese leader had issued a ringing endorsement of the North's position.

During the North Korean leader's visit to China, he had a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, and visited a pharmaceutical factory in southern Beijing, in addition to a high-tech economic development zone.

Trump complained after a similar China trip in May that Xi might have emboldened Kim to take a harder line before their own eventual meeting in Singapore.

Kim also said North Korea hopes its "legitimate concerns" will be given due respect, a reference to its desire for security guarantees and a possible peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War.

Shi Yinhong, an worldwide relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said Kim's trip would have no direct influence on the progress of trade talks.

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He said that the second summit, and a return visit to Seoul by Kim, "will be other turning points that will firmly solidify peace on the Korean Peninsula". His delegation was seen off by high-ranking Chinese officials and honour guard at a Beijing train station and could return to North Korea as soon as Thursday morning, Yonhap said.

Kim's visit overlapped with a U.S. delegation led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, which held talks in Beijing since Monday amid a 90-day truce in the U.S.

"The weight of North Korea is limited and can not play a decisive role", he said.

"We always believe that, as key parties to the Korean Peninsula issue, it's important for the two sides to maintain contact and we always support their dialogue to achieve positive outcomes", Lu said.

"The US is translating Kim's trip to China as (part of) a war of nerves".

At their first meeting in Singapore in June, Kim and Trump signed a vaguely worded document with Kim pledging to work towards the "denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".

"I expect we'll hear about high-level talks between North Korea and the United States before long for their second summit", he added.

"North Korea is looking for something where. they would be rewarded for meeting certain goals, rather than sanctions being lifted only after CVID (complete, verifiable and irreversible destruction) of their nuclear facilities, which is what the USA is adamant on", said Graham Ong-Webb, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. Still, North Korean state media hinted at continued frustration with the US, saying the former Cold War allies discussed difficulties and concerns with the nuclear talks and improving relations with the U.S.

Multiple diplomatic sources have said that the Vietnamese government has said it desires to host the second North-U.S. summit.