North Korea’s senior leadership visited Beijing Monday by train. Immediately after arrival, the North Korean delegation reportedly had a meeting with the Chinese leadership, including President Xi Jinping.
It is a good direction that North Korea intends to improve the relationship with China under the situation that both countries had not gotten along with each other since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took the power. China has proposed that both denuclearization and a peace treaty be progressed simultaneously in order to solve the nuclear issue of North Korea. The proposal is not much different from what South Korean President Moon Jae-in is considering for the peace on the Korean Peninsula.
In the meantime, it is also true that North Korea and China may have a different intention. In history, North Korea relied on China whenever the regime was in trouble, and China properly managed the situation for its own purpose. Regarding the North’s latest visit to China, it is also highly likely that Beijing sent an invitation to Pyongyang in order to solve “China passing” issue, and North Korea has accepted the invitation for the purpose of showing its diplomatic hegemony to the Unites States. Especially under the situation that Washington’s hawk politicians are emerging in U.S. security line, the pressure North Korea is feeling is more than serious, resulting in relying on regressing to the previous bad practice.
As always, however, such clandestine practice would make North Korea in more trouble and exacerbate the relationship between the North and China. Even for this time, China hasn’t confirmed the visit and reiterated the previous practice by controlling even internet communication. We suggest both countries discard the recognition that the covert communication proves a better relationship. We hope the North Korea-China relationship will be transparent and normal in order not to lead to unnecessary misunderstanding. In addition, we hope the visit will be a momentum to confirm a non-invertible promise by Kim Jong Un to denuclearize on the Korean Peninsula.