Washington does not seem delighted ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's first visit to Pyongyang while paying close attention to the developments between China and North Korea. Such sentiment has been brought on by the fact that North Korea-China summit is taking place while Pyongyang has not responded to the U.S.’ request for working-level talks for North Korea’s denuclearization.
The Trump administration has been firmly insisting on progress in the working-level talks for the third U.S.-North Korea summit to be held. However, despite multiple proposals for the working-level talks by U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun who is scheduled to visit North Korea at the end of June, Pyongyang hasn’t even informed Biegun of who would be his new negotiation partner. The U.S. is wary of the possibility that its denuclearization talks with North Korea may become even trickier as Pyongyang and Beijing get closer to each other.
“Beijing hasn’t played much of a constructive role in denuclearization talks throughout the previously held four summit talks between Xi and Kim Jong Un,” said a negotiation expert. “Negotiation specialists view that the summit talks have weakened cooperation between the U.S. and North Korea consequently brought negative impact.”
What’s more troublesome is that the Chinese president’s visit comes at a time of tangled tensions as the trade war between the U.S. and China has expanded to larger areas, including exchange rates and information and communications technology. China may feel the strong desire to use North Korea as leverage ahead of the meeting between Xi and its U.S. counterpart at the G20 summit next week.