Xis message for Trump after meeting Kim could be limited

WASHINGTON, Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely have a message for U.S. President Donald Trump after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jongun this week, but its contents may not be appealing or new to the U.S., analysts here said Friday.

Kim and Xi apparently discussed the issue of North Koreas denuclearization during talks in Pyongyang on Thursday, a topic on which the U.S. and the North have failed to make progress since the breakdown of their second summit in February.

Of interest is whether Xi will come to Trump with a solution to break the impasse in denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang when the two meet at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, next week.

Surely Chinese President Xi has a message for President Trump maybe even a new letter from Chairman Kim Jongun, Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korean studies at the Center for the National Interest, told Yonhap. However, the message will most likely be a vague desire to keep talking with little specifics on the topics or a time frame to start such discussions.

U.S.North Korea talks have been at a standstill since the February summit, which ended without a deal due to gaps over the scope of North Koreas denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.

Both Trump and Kim have expressed a desire to continue dialogue, and last week, the U.S. president revealed that he had received another beautiful letter from the North Korean leader.

However, neither side has indicated any change in their respective positions, with the U.S. insisting on complete denuclearization and the North demanding a stepbystep approach involving sanctions relief.

Kim is likely holding off on making any final decisions for talks until he knows the results of the G20 summit, Kazianis said.

If the U.S.China trade war heats up, he knows Beijing is much more likely to help him break the sanctions regime in an effort to punish President Trump for his actions, he noted, alluding to speculation that Xi and Kim are forging a joint front to tackle their respective feuds with the U.S. North Korea over its nuclear weapons and China over trade.

However, if a trade deal is struck, look for North Korea to come to the bargaining table with a new offer, as it would at that point have lost its biggest point of leverage, Kazianis said.

Xis message could also be unwelcome by the U.S if all it does is reinforce the North Koreans view.

Xi will press Trump to ease sanctions and reach a compromise with Kim, as Kims comment about meeting halfway during the Xi summit indicated, said Robert Manning, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank.

Kim, according to Chinese state media, told Xi that North Korea will remain patient despite the lack of an active response from the relevant country, a likely reference to the U.S.

He also voiced hope that that country will see the DPRK facetoface and address each others issues of interest so as to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue. DPRK is the acronym for North Koreas formal name, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

Whether Kim will go through Xi to speak to Trump is also a point of contention.

I would guess that Kim would prefer direct channels to present his positions, said Frank Aum, senior expert on North Korea at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

I dont expect Xi will pass along any word from Kim Jongun that the U.S. already didnt know, especially from the letter that Kim sent to Trump directly, he said.

In fact, the latest hope for a resumption of U.S.North Korea negotiations came during a speech by U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun earlier this week.

The U.S. point man on North Korea told an event at the Atlantic Council that both sides understand the need for a flexible approach.

I dont think there was anything special about the XiKim summit that will directly lead to another TrumpKim summit. The most important factor is whether the U.S. and North Korea are both willing to be more flexible, Aum said.

And Bieguns remarks, he said, might be the most encouraging news in the last two months.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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