With a historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just weeks away, Bloomberg has confirmed reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in the port city of Dalian over the past two days - the second meeting between top officials of the two Communist allies in less than two months.
Kim traveled to China via an Air Koryo plane that's believed to be Kim's personal jet. Officials confirmed there are no direct air routes between Dalian and the North.
The first meeting took place in late March, when Kim traveled to China via an armored train in what is widely believed to have been the young dictator's first trip abroad since he succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, upon his death.
The second round of talks between the two Communist leaders are taking place following historic talks between South Korean leader Moon Jae-in and Kim at the DMZ late last month, where the leaders of the two Koreas agreed on a framework to end the Korean war.
I will be speaking to my friend, President Xi of China, this morning at 8:30. The primary topics will be Trade, where good things will happen, and North Korea, where relationships and trust are building.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2018
According to BBG, Kim reportedly filled Xi in on developments in the Korean peninsula and pushed to strengthen communication and cooperation with China.
In comments reported after the meeting, Kim reiterated that, as long as the regime's security is guaranteed, North Korea "does not need to have nuclear weapons..."
"As long as relevant parties eliminate the hostile policy and security threats against North Korea, North Korea does not need to have nuclear weapons, and denuclearization is achievable," Kim was quoted as saying.
Xi agreed that "positive progress" had been made since the two leaders first met, adding, "I feel happy about it."
His response was reported by China's Xinhua news agency.
"After my first meeting with the chairman [Kim Jong Un], I'm very glad to see positive progress in both bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula…. Developing the traditional friendship between China and North Korea is a common treasure of both nations. Improving friendship and cooperation between the two nations is a position both sides hold firmly and is the only correct choice. High-level exchanges between both sides carry important effects that are irreplaceable. Both sides need to maintain regular exchanges, boost strategic communications and mutual trust, and defend our common interests."
As BBG points out, Dalian is home to China's first domestically built aircraft carrier, which is nearly ready to start sea tests. The new carrier, known as the Type 001A, was built by China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. Trump recently revealed that his meeting with Kim has been scheduled for June, and that the location - which he did not reveal - had also been decided. It was later reported that Singapore will host the talks.