North Korean leader Kim Jong-un paid an unofficial visit to China between March 25 and 28 after being invited by Chinese President Xi Jinping and the two had significant talks during this period. It was Kim's first visit to a foreign country since he took over the reins in 2011.
On the occasion, Xi said development in China-North Korea relations is a "strategic choice" and the "only right choice" the two sides have made "based on history and reality, international and regional structure and the general situation of China-DPRK ties". He said this reality would not change by an event at a particular time.
It can be said here that Kim is expected to meet US President Donald Trump in May after the latter accepted a proposal from a South Korean envoy to meet Kim. Though it was expected that the talks would focus on the North Korean nuclear programme, the details were yet to be finalised. Did Xi indicate that the Trump-Kim talks were unlikely to change China's equations with North Korea, its closest ally in East Asia?
Xi Jinping's 4 proposals to bring N Korea out of isolation
Xi, while stressing Beijing's willingness to cooperate with North Korea to jointly progress and make people of both the countries content and strive towards regional peace and development, presented four principles in connection with the bilateral terms, China's Global Times said.
First, continue to prioritise high-level exchanges that help in guiding and promoting development in China-North Korea relations. Xi said he was eager to see a regular exchange of high-profile visits between Beijing and Pyongyang.
Secondly, to give emphasis on strategic communication between the two countries. He said China and North Korea should frequently exchange opinions on major issues as well as exchanges at party levels and other areas. This would make their mutual trust and communication stronger.
Thirdly, to work towards peaceful development. He said both the Chinese and North Korean brands of socialism have shown signs of change and progress, ushering in new times and they should make joint efforts to make things better for their own people and regional peace and stability.
Fourthly and finally, to encourage people-to-people exchanges and strengthen the foundation of popular will for improving friendly relations and carry forward the tradition of friendship.
China's soft take on North Korea ahead of Trump-Kim talks
China's ploy could be to improve its own relationship with North Korea, something which deteriorated in the wake of the latter's ambitious nuclear programme and especially in the run-up to the Trump-Kim talks.
doesn't want to lose North Korea as an ally and thus was found working on the basics to demolish the invisible wall that had come up between the two sides of late. North Korea is virtually no match for China in terms of stature and strength but yet Xi showed to the world that by welcoming Kim and making his four proposals, he was willing to treat it as an equal partner and trying to bring it out of isolation.