June 19, 2018 / 10:29 PM / 3 months ago

North Korea, China discuss 'true peace', denuclearization: KCNA

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping came to an understanding on issues that were discussed at a summit between the two leaders, including denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the North’s state media said on Wednesday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks beside Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, in this undated photo released June 20, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. KCNA via REUTERS

Kim and Xi assessed the historic meeting Kim had with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last week and exchanged opinions on ways to resolve the issue of denuclearization, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The North Korean leader also promised during a meeting with Xi in Beijing to cooperate with Chinese officials to secure “true peace” in the process of “opening a new future” on the Korean peninsula, it said.

Kim’s two-day visit to Beijing will end later on Wednesday, according to state media from China and North Korea. It follows his Singapore summit, where Kim and Trump reaffirmed a commitment to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) in Beijing, China, in this undated photo released June 20, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. KCNA via REUTERS

Trump surprised officials in South Korea and the United States after that meeting by saying he would end “provocative” joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

The United States and South Korea said on Tuesday they had agreed to suspend a joint military exercise scheduled for August, although decisions regarding subsequent drills have not yet been made.

On Wednesday, South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-hwa said the decision to suspend the exercise could be reconsidered based on future developments with North Korea.

“I think we’ve made it clear this is a goodwill gesture to strengthen dialogue momentum,” Kang said.

“It’s not irreversible. They could come back if the dialogue loses speed, or if North Korea doesn’t live up to its denuclearization commitment,” she said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a meeting in Beijing, China, in this undated photo released June 20, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. KCNA via REUTERS

Kim is on his third visit to China this year. Xi offered high praise to the North Korean leader on Tuesday for the “positive outcome” of last week’s summit with Trump.

KCNA also reported that Xi said relations between China and North Korea had entered a new level of development since Kim’s first visit in March and that the agreements made between the two leaders were being carried out “one-by-one”.

Kim also told Xi he was willing to bolster bilateral friendship and cooperation, it said.

It was widely expected that Kim would visit Beijing to brief Xi on his summit with Trump, which included Pyongyang agreeing to hand over the remains of troops missing from the 1950-53 Korean War.

Two U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday North Korea could start that process within the next few days.

Reporting by Christine Kim; Additional reporting by Joori Roh and Joyce Lee in SEOUL and Idrees Ali in WASHINGTON; Editing by James Dalgleish and Paul Tait

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