As expected, the Tuesday “mystery train” that arrived in Beijing was carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He reportedly wasn’t regarded warmly by citizens, but Kim received a “lavish welcome” from Chinese President Xi Jinping before the two leaders settled down to business. In this case, that meant talking about the threat on everyone’s mind — nuclear weapons.
After decades of nuke-related development (and a few years of acceleration regarding testing), Kim Jong-un is apparently quite serious about dumping the whole program, which confirms recent reports that he’d be alright with doing so. As Reuters reports, during his Beijing visit, Kim pledged to denuclearize, while China offered its continued friendship with the largely isolated regime. The Chinese Foreign Ministry quotes the following statement from Kim:
“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il. The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace.”
Whether or not North Korea upholds its word depends on many factors, but it seems that harsh U.S. and U.N. sanctions on the country may be working some magic. After all, only a few short months have passed since the regime was boasting about a nuke-tipped missile that put Washington, D.C. in range. At present, President Trump is greeting this news as entirely promising, and he’s looking forward to his May meeting with Kim.