Biegun Comments on Xi Jinping’s Visit to Pyongyang: Wait and See

By Kitty Wang

Chinese leader Xi Jinping began a two-day visit to North Korea June 20. Trump’s Special Representative for North Korea isn’t making any predictions about what will happen though.

“I’d caution everybody. Let’s wait and see what the results are,” said Stephen Biegun, United States Special Representative for North Korea.

Biegun made a cautious statement on June 19 about Xi Jinping’s visit to North Korea. “The most important thing about this, is that China is not doing this as a favor for the United States of America. This is China’s national interest. And in this case, China’s national interests and America’s national interests coincide,” he said.

On Tuesday, President Trump spoke with Xi Jinping and concluded that they will meet during the G-20 summit in Japan next week.

Experts believe that for China, the current trade war situation is grim, and that Beijing has limited negotiating power over Washington.

Michael Rogers, former Chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said, “China always wants leverage. They will use this to their advantage, no doubt.”

In this trip, China will seek leverage with the U.S. across a range of issues.

“They are trying to send the signal that they can be useful in dealing with North Korea, and also, they can interfere with an attempt to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue in the way that would be acceptable to the United States,” said Aaron Friedberg, former deputy assistant for national-security affairs, Office of the Vice President.

After the Hanoi summit, U.S.-North Korea negotiations were in a deadlock. In an essay published in both countries’ official media before Xi’s trip, he praised North Korea for moving in the “right direction” by resolving issues on the peninsula.

Xi did not, however, mention the sanctions imposed by the international community to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

Alexander Vershbow, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea said, “I hope there is no mixed message that could give Kim Jong-un false hopes that he can play China off against the United States.”