Xi’s Landmark Visit to North Korea Will Be Overshadowed by Standoffs With Trump

Xi’s Landmark Visit to North Korea Will Be Overshadowed by Standoffs With Trump
A TV news program reports on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to North Korea with file footage of Xi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, June 18, 2019 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit North Korea on Thursday, the first such trip by a Chinese president in 14 years. Longtime allies China and North Korea fought together in the Korean War and are celebrating 70 years of bilateral ties. But both countries are locked in tense standoffs with the United States, which is likely to loom large over the summit.

Billed by Pyongyang as a state visit, the opportunity to host Xi is a diplomatic win for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose negotiations with the U.S. over his country’s nuclear program fell apart in February. Experts say Kim needs Beijing’s backing in dealing with U.S. President Donald Trump, while Xi doesn’t want to be sidelined from nuclear diplomacy.

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