SHANGHAI/SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is visiting China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, only days after warning he may take an alternative path if the United States does not ease sanctions and pressure on his isolated country.
The visit, confirmed by North Korean and Chinese state media, will likely lead to Kim's fourth summit with Xi in the last year and comes amid plans for a second summit with Trump aimed at denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
Kim held three summits with Xi, his most important ally, last year, before and after summits with Trump and South Korean President President Moon Jae-in.
"Kim is eager to remind the Trump administration that he does have diplomatic and economic options besides what Washington and Seoul can offer," Harry J. Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at U.S.-based Center for the National Interest said in an e-mailed statement.
"İn fact, during his New Year's Days speech, Kim's 'new way' that he referred to may well have been a veiled threat to move closer to Beijing. That should make America quite concerned."
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