The fearsome foursome: Xi and Peng dine with Kim and Ri | Top News | SupChina

The fearsome foursome: Xi and Peng dine with Kim and Ri

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Yesterday, just after we hit “send” on our newsletter that discussed Kim Jong-un’s unannounced visit to Beijing, Chinese and North Korean state media confirmed the visit had taken place and circulated photographs of Xi Jinping 习近平 and Kim Jong-un 金正恩 meeting, Kim looking at impressive stuff, and the two leaders enjoying a banquet with their wives, Peng Liyuan 彭丽媛 and Ri Sol Ju 李雪主.

The People’s Daily’s photo gallery and readout (in Chinese) on the visit led with this bog-standard handshake image:

pd xi kim

Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the official wire service of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, led its readout (in Korean; photo gallery also published on SupChina) with this photo of the first couples’ intimate dinner:

kcna xi kim

Domestic readerships are the intended audience for both these state media articles. If I may be permitted some pop psych analysis: The People’s Daily’s image choice emphasizes Xi’s statesmanship, while KCNA focuses on the respect and hospitality with which Kim was treated.

“Kim’s message for Trump: China is back on our side” is how Bloomberg summarizes the aim and result of the visit. I agree, and stand by my comment in yesterday’s newsletter that this trip was intended to send a signal to Trump that there is no daylight between Beijing and Pyongyang. The message is much stronger now that the meeting has been officially reported as a success by both Beijing and Pyongyang.

More on Kim Jong-un’s visit:

  • Lies: Hot take: What does Kim Jong-un’s trip to China mean? / Lowy Institute
    “Next time the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the real issue is between the U.S. and North Korea, and that China is just a mediator or just wants stability, we will know they are lying,” writes Robert E. Kelly, a professor at Pusan National University in South Korea (a.k.a. the BBC dad).

Fall to Earth already!

If you’re getting sick of reading stories about Chinese space station Tiangong-1 about to fall to Earth but don’t want to miss the action, you can watch a live feed from the Virtual Telescope Project and Tenagra Observatories showing the trajectory of the doomed craft.

Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.