China says Trump-Kim summit 'important step' towards denuclearization

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 27 2019 07:09 PM

A man walks while holding a painting of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump ahead of the North Korea-US summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 27, 2019. Jorge Silva, Reuters

WUZHEN, China- China's foreign minister said Wednesday the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can be an "important step" towards advancing denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Beijing is North Korea's sole major ally and Kim traveled for more than two days by train across China on his way to Hanoi.

The North Korean leader met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a fourth time in January, showing that Beijing retains a key role in the diplomatic shuffle.

"In this Hanoi meeting, we can not only increase the hard-won warming up of the situation, but we can also take an important step towards advancing the denuclearization of the peninsula and establishing a peace mechanism," Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after talks with his Russian and Indian counterparts in the eastern Chinese city of Wuzhen.

Trump was due to meet Kim for dinner later Wednesday and meet again on Thursday.

Following a historic first meeting in Singapore in June that produced a vaguely worded statement about denuclearization, analysts say the second summit in Vietnam's capital Hanoi must this time put substance ahead of bonhomie.