NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New video shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Beijing, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to reports.
Chinese state television released video of the moment when Kim and his wife met with Xi and his spouse for the first time.
A military band greeted Kim at the start of the four-day visit, which ended Wednesday. The leaders posed for an official picture and attended a banquet, where Kim spoke and held talks.
China’s official news agency reported that during the discussions, Kim said he’s willing to hold a summit with the United States.
“The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill,” Kim told the Chinese press.
A meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump is planned for May, but this was the first time Kim has spoken publicly about it.
Some experts in the region say the potential talks between the U.S. and North Korea may have motivated China to act.
“I think Beijing probably wanted to make sure that it didn’t get sidelined in the bilateral conversation between Washington and Pyongyang and they wanted to send a message that they are China’s most important relationship,” said CBSN contributor Isaac Stone Fish.
China has been North Korea’s best trading partner for decades, but their 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 Chang, director of the Korean Studies Institute at USC.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders released a statement about the visit that said, “the United States remains in close contact with our allies South Korea and Japan. We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea.”
In an early morning tweet Wednesday, the president said he was “looking forward to our meeting!”
“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,” he said.
Trump also tweeted he received a message from China’s president saying the meeting with Kim “went very well.”
“In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost,” he said.
Kim’s visit to China was the first known trip he has made out of North Korea since taking control following his father’s death back in 2011.