Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea paid a visit to China on January 7-10, 2019, drawing the attention of the world for its remarkable significance.
Last year, while orchestrating such landmark events as inter-Korean and DPRK-US summit meetings, the DPRK leader visited China three times.
Given the fact that this year the two countries will mark the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship, Kim Jong Un's recent tour is of weighty importance–strengthening the bilateral ties and deepening strategic communication between the leaderships of the two countries.
Over the past nine months the DPRK leader has visited China four times, which is an illustration of his approach towards the relations with the neighbouring country.
Through repeated meetings and talks, the top leaders of the two countries expressed active support and encouragement for each other's cause and achievements, exchanged their views on major international and regional issues, and reached a consensus of opinion. Promoting Sino-DPRK cooperation in the present political situation is effective in ensuring strategic balance in the international arena and coping reasonably with sensitive issues.
Kim Jong Un's fourth visit to China has paved the way for properly managing the situation on the Korean peninsula and steering the negotiation for its denuclearization.
In his New Year Address he reaffirmed that the DPRK will strive to build a lasting and durable peace regime on the peninsula and advance towards complete denuclearization. Ensuring peace on the peninsula is not merely a concern for the DPRK and the US; this issue assumes an international and regional character.
Through close communication with the Chinese leadership, Kim Jong Un has created an international environment favourable for finding a peaceful solution to the Korean peninsula nuclear issue in cooperation with major neighbouring countries and the world community at large.
His first foreign tour in the new year is sending a “delicate message” to the US.
The Singapore summit meeting held in June last year was a watershed in the DPRK-US relations, but a divergence of opinion hindered substantial progress in the bilateral ties. The US did not abandon its policy of hostility towards the DPRK, putting unacceptable proposals on the table. It did not adopt a positive attitude towards establishing a peaceful relationship with the latter. Despite the absurdity of the requests from its dialogue partner, the DPRK maintained its stand of tolerance and patience while prioritizing the relations with the US. In October last year discussions were made on the possibility of holding another summit meeting.
In his New Year Address, Kim Jong Un said that it is his firm will to establish a new bilateral relationship as clarified in the June 12 DPRK-US Joint Statement but if the US attempts to unilaterally enforce something upon the DPRK, he may be compelled to find a new way.
His recent visit to China may be construed as a warning that the US must respect the DPRK's stand and pay careful attention to it.
Indeed, Kim Jong Un's first foreign tour in the new year is a world-startling event that has given rise to a new current in the international and regional situation around the Korean peninsula.