By Emily Colby
June 19, 2018
Most of the world woke up this morning to the abrupt news that North Korean Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un was in China. For most members of the media and the public, the visit came as a surprise. It marks Kim’s third visit to China in the past three months.
Kim met with Chinese President, Xi Jinping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to discuss recent advancements of plans to denuclearize North Korea. President Xi publicly showered Kim with a warm welcome. The visit included a welcome ceremony with honor guard and was broadcast this morning on Chinese State television
North Korean State Media, on the contrary, kept quiet about the visit and the meeting. As of 3pm EST, North Koreans had still not been made aware that any of the day’s events had taken place. This reaction does not come as a surprise however, as North Korea does not typically inform its people of foreign visits by government officials until after the fact. Such was also the case when Kim traveled to Singapore for the recent US-North Korean Summit.
It has been suggested by several news sources that the purpose behind the visit was to further establish a “Dual Suspension Policy” among North Korea, South Korea and the United States. This Policy, which has also been referred to as a “freeze-freeze agreement” would order the US and South Korea to stop major military exercises within the region, with North Korea halting weapons programs in exchange.
It is an idea that US President Trump initially rejected back in 2017. However, if the past weeks have proved anything, it is a shift in attitude on the part of President Trump in his thoughts on the North Korea issue. It now appears he is coming around to the idea. Perhaps this comes in part due to international pressure. South Korea, China, North Korea and even Russia have all expressed support for the policy.
President Trump’s change of heart appears to be translating into action. In a statement on Monday evening, South Korea’s Defense Ministry announced that “South Korea and the United States have agreed to suspend all planning activities regarding the Freedom Guardian military drill scheduled for August.” The Pentagon backed this up, adding that there would be a meeting between Trump’s national security adviser and the secretaries of defense this week.