Xi to attend summit in Russia, Kim also invited


Sat, Sep 08, 2018 - Page 1

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is to attend a regional summit in Russia next week, Chinese officials said yesterday, joining the prime ministers of Japan and South Korea at a gathering to which North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was invited.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Kim to participate in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, from Tuesday to Thursday.

Kim has not confirmed his attendance, but his participation would mark another major step in his efforts to bring Pyongyang out of international isolation over its nuclear weapons program.

At a media briefing to announce Xi’s visit, Chinese officials would not comment on whether Xi planned to meet with other leaders during the summit.

“Should we have any proposals from other countries, China will positively consider” them, Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Hanhui (張漢暉) told reporters.

Kim and Xi have met three times in China this year as the two countries seek to repair relations frayed by North Korea’s nuclear activities and Beijing’s backing of UN sanctions against its Cold War-era ally.

Xi is sending Chinese National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman Li Zhanshu (栗戰書) to Pyongyang this weekend to attend celebrations marking North Korea’s 70th anniversary, ending speculation that the Chinese president would use the occasion to make his first official trip to the country.

In the latest chapter in the roller-coaster diplomacy over North Korea, US President Donald Trump on Thursday signaled that negotiations on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula remain alive after weeks of apparent deadlock.

Xi is to be in Vladivostok on Tuesday and Wednesday. It would be the first time that a Chinese leader participates in the annual economic forum hosted by Russia.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon are also expected to attend the summit.