President Xi Jinping's plans to make his first state visit to North Korea this week come as a surprise move that could have various implications and potential outcomes.
Let's get some expert's view. Live on the line for us for a flash analysis is Sean King, Senior VP at New York-based Park Strategies and University of Notre Dame Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Affairs Affiliated Scholar.
Sean, welcome to the program.
This is the very first visit to North Korea by President Xi Jinping while North Korea's Kim Jong-un has traveled to China four times in the past 15 months to confer with the Chinese president.
Up until now, Mr. Xi had been rather reluctant to reciprocate that visit. AND, the visit comes just one week before the G20 summit. What are you reading into this, Sean? How does this visit serve China's Xi and what about the North's Kim?
The announcement definitely took many by surprise but, in hindsight, there have been hints here and there that indicate an ongoing behind-the-scenes diplomacy between Beijing, Pyeongyang, Washington, Moscow, and Seoul despite the deadlock in Trump, Kim denuclearization talks.
Can we assume that there has been a flurry of diplomacy in recent weeks?
How do we expect the summit diplomacy to play out from here on forth?
Looking at it in sequence, there will be the China, North Korea summit to be followed by China, U.S. summit on the sidelines of the Osaka summit, then a South Korea, U.S. summit.
Is this a prelude to another round of U.S., China summit possibly a three way talks - between Seoul, Washington, and Pyeongyang as well?
Last but not least, VOA reported earlier this week that North Korea's Kim Jong-un told his generals and senior military officials ahead of his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump that his ultimate goal is to elevate the North's status as a global nuclear-capable state.
How reliable is this?
Sean King, Senior VP at Park Strategies, many thanks for sharing your insights today. We appreciate it, as always.