Kim Jong-un made his first known diplomatic trip outside of North Korea on Monday, arriving in Beijing via a 90-carriage armored train that made its way back the following day. It was a surprise trip, ahead of Donald Trump’s planned (though as yet unscheduled) meeting with Kim, with China’s foreign ministry spending Tuesday saying it had “no understanding” of Kim’s arrival.
Of course, the whole world knows about it now. North Korea’s state news agency, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), recently released photos of Kim’s historic visit, showing Kim and Xi — with their wives — shaking hands and waving, sitting, and standing in a series of locations.
China is thought to have initiated the visit, both to remind Kim of China’s role and to send a strong message to Trump and the U.S. that China will remain a part of any future discussions about the Korean Peninsula.
While China and North Korea disagree on a variety of issues, most notably North Korea’s nuclear program, the photos released today are designed to send a clear signal that North Korea’s relationship with China is perfectly copacetic, with KCNA also projecting its young leader as a confident young man.
For what it’s worth, Xinhua News scooped KCNA, quoting Kim as saying [sic]: “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.”
—China Xinhua News (@XHNews) March 27, 2018