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(LEAD) N.K. leader reaffirms denuclearization commitment, vows efforts for 2nd summit with Trump

All Headlines 09:21 January 10, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS more info from 4th para, byline)
By Koh Byung-joon

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his commitment to the denuclearization and vowed efforts to produce good results from his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese state media said Thursday.

Kim made the pledge during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday, according to Xinhua News Agency. Kim was in China for a four-day trip, his fourth visit to the neighboring ally in about 10 months.

"The DPRK will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and U.S. leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community," Xinhua quoted Kim as saying during talks with Xi.

DPRK is the abbreviation of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Xi strongly supported Kim's meeting with Trump and hoped the two will find common ground, adding that China is ready to play a "positive" and "constructive" role in the process.

"China hopes that the DPRK and the United States will meet each other halfway," he was quoted as saying. "China stands ready to work with the DPRK and relevant parties to play a positive and constructive role in maintaining peace and stability and realizing denuclearization on the peninsula and lasting peace and stability in the region."

Xinhua also said that Kim and Xi agreed to make efforts for continuous "new development," a "political settlement process of the Korean Peninsula" and "more benefits" for the people of the two countries and that they would contribute to peace and stability, prosperity and development of the region and beyond.

Kim's trip to China, which was made at the invitation of Beijing, came amid speculation that a second summit between the North's leader and U.S. President Donald Trump is imminent.

Pyongyang and Washington have been locked in a stalemate over how to carry out the agreements they reached in their first-ever summit in June, at which Kim promised to work toward complete denuclearization in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

Progress has been slow ever since as the North wants sanctions relief, while the U.S. remains firm that sanctions will remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons program.

In his New Year's Day speech, Kim warned that he could go a new way if the United States clings to pressure and sanctions on the North's regime. But he kept the door open for talks with the U.S., saying he is willing to meet Trump at any time.

Trump earlier said that the U.S. and North Korea are in talks over where to hold their second summit and a decision on the venue will be announced in the "not-too-distant future."

Experts think Kim's China trip was intended to discuss strategies with his closest ally ahead of a possible summit with Trump, adding that it also appears aimed at strengthening the North's negotiating leverage by demonstrating its strong ties with Beijing.

During his trip to Beijing, Xi hosted a dinner reception for Kim on Tuesday night, the 35th birthday of the North Korean leader. Kim also toured an industrial site in Beijing on Wednesday before heading back home late in the day.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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