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Kim Jong-un (R) inspecting an honor guard while accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 19.
Kim Jong-un (R) inspecting an honor guard while accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 19.

North Korea’s Kim Hails Unity With China

North Korea’s Kim Hails Unity With China

Kim Jong-un declared North Korea’s unstinting “friendship, unity and cooperation” with Beijing during his third visit to China this year, in a show of loyalty to his main ally following a landmark summit with US President Donald Trump.
The two-day visit which was to end Wednesday was designed to reassure Beijing that Pyongyang will not neglect its interests as Trump and the North Korean leader move into uncharted diplomatic terrain, AFP reported.
The performance is part of a delicate balancing act for Kim, who analysts say is seeking to play US and Chinese interests off each other while maintaining good relations with Beijing, his economic patron and diplomatic protector.
China and the US both hope to see the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons, but Beijing is concerned Washington and Pyongyang might move closer at its expense, a possibility that China sees as threatening to its economic and security interests in the region.
While China was not present at the June 12 summit in Singapore, it lent Kim a plane to travel to the city-state, a clear sign that it remains an influential force in the diplomatic shuffle.
The Cold War-era allies, which fought side-by-side against US-led UN forces and South Korea in the 1950-1953 Korean War, have sought to repair ties strained by Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and Beijing’s support of subsequent UN sanctions.
Kim chose Beijing for his first official foreign trip in March and met Xi again in May in the northeastern port city of Dalian.
During his meeting with Xi on Tuesday, Kim thanked China for “positive and sincere support and good help for the successful” summit with Trump, according to North Korea’s official KCNA news agency.
The North Korean leader, who was greeted by a military honor guard and cheering children at the Great Hall of the People, said he valued the “recently strengthened strategic cooperation” between the two countries.
Kim invoked the “prospect for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” following his meeting with Trump.
For his part, Xi told Kim that China “speaks highly” of his summit with Trump and he urged Washington and Pyongyang to implement their agreement struck in Singapore.
The Chinese leader vowed that Beijing would continue to play a “constructive role” in the nuclear diplomacy.
The Trump administration is expecting North Korea to return up to 200 sets of remains believed to be American service members who died during the Korean War, three US officials confirmed, ABC News reported on Wednesday.
Planning is underway to receive the remains from North Korea in the coming days, but an actual transfer date and location has not yet been finalized, the officials said.
One official said though it was unclear where the handover of remains could occur, they would ultimately be taken to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii where the Defense Department has a lab to identify remains of missing US service members from all wars.

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