The meeting between China and North Korea was little publicized, especially in China, where the media reported on the summit without emphasizing the most important aspect of the talks.
Kim Jong-Un’s envoy, Ri Su-Yong, met in Beijing with the leaders of the Chinese People’s Republic, including President Xi Jinping. Pyongyang told its Chinese partners that the development of its nuclear arsenal would continue, information that surely was not received warmly by Beijing, which has expressed itself recently in less-than-conciliating tones with the young North Korean leader.
It’s the first meeting between the two countries’ leadership since “the brilliant leader” and the “president of everything” ascended to power. Two men alone in command, dealing, although in different ways, with managing a party. Kim has just closed the worker’s party congress in North Korea. Xi is steering a country in transition that requires important reforms.
It’s a historic change that Xi is trying to maneuver by increasing control on the party. This has led to a repressive tightening, both against party members who run afoul, as well as against dissent in general, together with an ideological refocus. Xi recently called for a greater presence of Marxist studies in the universities.