North Korea expected to begin transferring remains of USA troops soon

20 June, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Charlene Valdez
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One official said "a sizable number" of remains were expected to be handed over, but declined to give a specific number given the unpredictability of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

As if on cue, Kim Jong Un returned to Beijing on Tuesday in an illustration of how President Donald Trump's tariff threats against China could spiral into a broader conflict between the world's two largest economies.

Kim will be in Beijing through Wednesday, state media reported.

North Korea "hopes to work with China and other concerned parties to promote and establish a solid, long-lasting peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula and make joint efforts to achieve a lasting peace on the peninsula".

Kim arrived in Beijing on Tuesday to a welcome ceremony, which reportedly featured a crowd of excited children jumping up and down while holding Chinese flags.

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Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang parried several questions on Kim's visit and its objective saying details will be released in a timely manner.

His two previous trips to China, including his maiden official voyage overseas in March, had been kept secret until he returned home. After his summit with Kim last week, Trump acknowledged that his trade disputes could discourage Xi's cooperation during disarmament talks with Kim.

While opinions about the success of that summit for the U.S. and North Korea remain divided, most agree that China ended up as the real victor in Singapore with Trump announcing the suspension of joint military drills with South Korea, calling the exercises "provocative", and even alluding to pulling United States troops out of the Korean Peninsula.

China may not have been at the table for the historic summit in Singapore but it retains strong influence behind the scenes, Dong said. China will continue to play a constructive role, he said.

By introducing unprecedented security and economic incentives for denuclearization, on top of the toughest sanctions ever applied against Pyongyang, the Trump administration has maximized diplomatic leverage against Kim Jong Un. "In exchange for these concessions, Trump seems to have won astonishingly little".

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It is now urgent for Xi and Kim to discuss how North Korea will work towards meeting United States demands, said Beijing-based global relations commentator Hua Po. Pompeo would go on to make security assurances to North Korea and wave before them the prospect of USA investment in exchange for denuclearizing, which has yet to materialize. "It may be hard for Kim Jong Un to accept", Hua told AFP.

In return for the denuclearisation pledge, Trump made the shock announcement that he would stop joint military drills with South Korea, long seen as a provocation by Pyongyang and Beijing.

China was also briefed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the Singapore summit during his recent visit here. "If he can let the USA see that the Chinese have been talking to Kim and therefore the China card is still available for Kim to play, it would be very useful".

Washington had previously rebuffed the proposal.

Trump had raised eyebrows by describing the exercises as "provocative" - a term used by the North.

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