Kim Jong-un could be hoping to visit Beijing before September

Posted on : 2013-05-28 14:45 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Media reports say special envoy conveyed a message from Kim; China has yet to comment

By Seong Yeon-cheol, Beijing correspondent

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told Chinese President Xi Jinping he hopes to visit China before September of this year, the Duo Wei Times reported on May 26.

The US-based Chinese newspaper quoted a source as saying that North Korean military vice-marshal Choe Ryong-hae, who recently visited to China as Kim’s special envoy, was an “advance party” for Kim’s own visit later this year.

The source also reported that Kim delivered a personal message to Xi expressing his hopes to visit China before September.

“China acknowledged that the message was received, but it hasn’t given any answers on the timing,” the source added.

The newspaper suggested three possible reasons for Choe’s visit: to explain North Korea’s recent military actions (including its missile launch and nuclear test), to agree to China’s calls to resume the six-party talks, and to clear the way for a visit by Kim later this year.

The report also quoted France’s AFP news agency as saying that National Defense Committee vice-chairman Jang Song-thaek also proposed a visit by Kim during his own China visit last August, but that Beijing did not agree to it.

Noting that his grandfather Kim Il-sung visited China many times in his lifetime, while father and predecessor Kim Jong-il visited seven times, the AFP said Kim Jong-un would “need to visit China if only to strengthen his standing at home.”

According to the AFP’s analysis, Kim appears certain that Beijing will agree to a visit this time.

The report also noted the possibility that Kim may offer Xi a “huge gift in the form of a denuclearization statement.”

But a diplomatic source in Beijing said it was “impossible to confirm” whether Kim’s envoy had expressed his intent to visit.


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