BEIJING (CBSMiami) – A historic meeting has taken place between the leaders of North Korea and China.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made the first trip out of the country since he became the leader in 2011.
Kim and his wife traveled to Beijing where they met China’s President Xi Jinping and his spouse for the first time.
A military band greeted Kim at the start of a four-day visit that ended Wednesday morning.
China has been North Korea’s best trading partner for decades but that relationship has become strained with China agreeing to U.S. led sanctions against Pyongyang in retaliation for its nuclear program.
“Both China and North Korea needed this meeting. What’s clearly happening is that Kim Jong Un is engaging in a diplomatic flurry of meetings to make sure that he knows what everyone is doing and that he’s shored up his relationship with China,” said David Kang, director of the Korean Studies Institute at USC.
China’s official news agency reported that during the discussions, Kim pledged to denuclearize North Korea and said he’s willing to hold a summit with the United States.
A meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump is planned for May, but this is the first time he has spoken publicly about it. Some experts in the region say the potential talks between the US and North Korea may have motivated China to act.
The White House said it was not alerted to Kim’s visit before it happened. The administration said they view the trip as a positive action.
Wednesday morning, Trump took to Twitter.
For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility. Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity. Look forward to our meeting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
Kim’s father Kim Jong Il visited China several times while in power. His visits were also kept secret until he had left the country.