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Xi Jinping’s visit to North Korea seems unlikely

Posted September. 04, 2018 07:35,   

Updated September. 04, 2018 07:35


Wang Huning, a member of China’s Politburo Standing Committee and secretary of the party’s Secretariat, is set to travel to Pyongyang as President Xi Jinping’s envoy around Sept. 9 to celebrate North Korea’s 70th founding anniversary, sources said Monday.

Multiple government officials and diplomatic sources said that it would be physically difficult for President Xi to make time for a visit to Pyongyang because “for now, the Chinese government appears focused on a China-Africa cooperation forum” being held in Beijing from Monday to Tuesday. In view of the North Korea-China relationship, the party’s senior official Wang will be sent on behalf of Xi, according to the sources. Some say that the Chinese government had already decided to dispatch Wang around last month considering President Xi’s busy schedule.

Diplomatic sources speculate that in fact, it was U.S. President Trump’s condemnation of and warning against China that stopped Xi from visiting the North. “The issue of the Korean Peninsula is not a policy priority for China as it should deal with a trade spat with the United States as well as the issue of China-Taiwan relations. So, there is no need for President Xi to make a potentially uncomfortable decision in a political sense and risk borrowing trouble,” said Kim Han-kwon from the Korea National Diplomacy Academy.

Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com · Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com