Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had finished his first summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, held a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday. On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump will hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington D.C. As Beijing and Moscow, and Washington and Tokyo, which had widely different stances over North Korea’s denuclearization, are moving to narrow differences, South Korea, which called itself a “facilitator,” is feared to lose ground further.
Russian President Putin held bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi in Beijing after the opening ceremony for the summit forum on China's One belt, One road initiative on the day. The two leaders were expected to coordinate ways for collaboration between China and Russia on Pyongyang’s denuclearization, and to demonstrate their close bilateral ties. In October last year, China and Russia, which are both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, have been pressuring the U.S. by issuing a joint statement saying “sanctions against North Korea need to be eased.”
As if seeking to counter the move, the leaders of the U.S. and Japan are also set to discuss pending issues over the North’s denuclearization on Saturday. A senior White House official told a conference call on Thursday, “The agenda for the summit includes final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.” In addition to the Washington summit, Trump and Abe agreed to hold monthly meetings for three consecutive months through June, including President Trump’s state visit to Japan in May and his attendance at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan late June.
Trump and Xi are also poised to meet with each other sooner rather than later. “Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the U.S. in the near future,” President Trump said on Thursday, hinting at the imminent conclusion of bilateral trade talks between Washington and Beijing. However, he stopped short of suggesting a specific date. In a related report, Reuters predicted that the two leaders will sign an agreement to conclude trade talks around Memorial Day in the U.S., which falls on May 27.