Kim Jong Un is making a two-day visit to Beijing starting Tuesday in which he's expected to discuss with Chinese leaders his next steps after his nuclear summit with President Trump last week. The North Korean leader's visit to Beijing, while expected, is one way for China to highlight its crucial role in US efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, the AP reports. The US has long looked to China to use its influence with North Korea to bring it to negotiations, but the visit comes as ties between Beijing and Washington are being tested by a major trade dispute. Chinese President Xi Jinping "is exerting a lot of influence from behind the scenes," says Bonnie Glaser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Glaser says it was predictable Xi would want to be briefed by Kim directly about the North Korean leader's talks with Trump. "I expect they will talk about the path going forward and where priorities should lie," Glaser said. Those priorities, from China's perspective, would be to ensure that Beijing is included in any peace treaty talks and in creating an environment on the Korean Peninsula that will make it unnecessary for US troops to remain. China's foreign ministry refused to provide details on Kim's visit other than to say that Beijing hopes it will help deepen relations between the countries. (A major announcement from the US and South Korea could be coming this week.)