N. Koreans in Beijing to repair China ties ahead of summit talks: Experts

방중 최고위급인사, 김정은•김여정 가능성 농후... 남북•북미 정상회담 앞두고 "후방 만들기"

While the focus of media around the world is on finding out WHO the high profile North Korean figure is, the more important question might be.... why and how this visit came to be.
Oh Jung-hee delves deeper into the trip shrouded in secrecy, to bring us some answers.
So far, nothing's been confirmed about who the secret visitor is... or why they came so suddenly.

On Tuesday, Tokyo-based Sankei Shimbun quoted an unnamed Chinese Communist party official... who reported that indeed... it is Kim Jong-un.
Sankei reported... he was visiting for two days to meet with various officials in China's Communist party... and that North Korea and China started organizing the visit early in the year.
Some South Korean experts agree it could be Kim Jong-un,... since, they say, no other North Korean high-level figure would use the special train used by the regime's former leader Kim Jong-il.
If true, then this would be Kim Jong-un's first known trip overseas since he took power in 2011.

But others suggest... it could be Kim Yo-jong, the leader's sister.
Kim Jong-un has been trying to build an image of North Korea as China's "diplomatic equal,"... so they say he wouldn't want to sneak into Beijing for his first face-to-face meetings with the Chinese leadership.
Plus... Kim Yo-jong is one of her brother's trusted political aides; she was also sent to South Korea as a special envoy during the Olympics.

But regardless of who it is,... it's noteworthy that this visit comes ahead of Pyongyang's summits with Seoul and Washington in April and May.
Experts think the relatively strained relations between North Korea and China have done nothing to help either side ahead of those historic talks.

"China is North Korea's most reliable supporter. So it would not benefit North Korea to hold summit talks with South Korea and the U.S. while its relations with China are cold. So North Korea's preparing a base to lean on."

For North Korea, it's crucial to consider what happens if its talks with Seoul and Washington end in failure,... in which case it could potentially seek a Chinese commitment to future support.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.

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