China sounds out Japan, S Korea for another summit this year

Trump later said he was joking when questioned about his comments

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is visiting China on Tuesday and Wednesday, state broadcaster CCTV said, a week after his unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has touched down in Beijing, marking his third visit to China in as many months. By publicly sharing the details of Kim's global trip, China has granted North Korea more legitimacy, furthering its desire to be treated like any other country.

Mr. Pompeo has defended the Singapore joint statement, in which Mr. Kim did express "unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

Chinese state media reported that Kim will make a two-day state visit to Beijing starting Tuesday. No other details were provided.

Despite the drama, the Trump-Kim summit did happen-and Trump made his startling announcement, even calling the exercises "provocative", using a word deployed by Pyongyang and Beijing. China is North Korea's most important diplomatic and economic backer but has been angered by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests. The accord said Kim "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", but set no timetable for the disarmament or terms for independent inspections of North Korean nuclear sites.

"Our government hopes China will play a constructive role in resolving this problem", spokesman Noh Kyu-deok told a regular briefing.

But experts, many of whom remain skeptical Kim will give up his nuclear program, have expressed concern that Trump conceded too much.

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A paramilitary policeman stands guard at Tiananmen Square in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China June 19, 2018.

Early previous year, China suggested a way to defuse the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula: North Korea would stop its nuclear and missile tests, while the USA and South Korea would stop their joint military drills.

Meanwhile, the US and South Korea have confirmed they have suspended planning for their next joint military drills.

White said US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton would meet later this week at the Pentagon to discuss the issue.

While the US and South Korean governments have yet to make an official announcement about the suspension of the war games, speculation is rampant that they will soon announce halting the upcoming Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise slated for August.

Apart from a potentially lucrative cross-border trade, China has also strategic interests in the Korean peninsula, which includes being wary of USA military presence in South Korea.

In Beijing last week, Pompeo said one of his goals in meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was to stress "the importance of China being a constructive participant in the next steps" after the Trump-Kim summit.

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