North Korean leader Kim Jong Un came away from his fourth meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping with his hand strengthened in nuclear talks with the United States, analysts say, even as Seoul urged him to do more. Mr Kim has been visiting Beijing this week to project an image of a strong Pyongyang-Beijing alliance in advance of a second potential summit.
"North Korea uses engagement with China to reinforce its leverage with the United States, and vice versa", said former USA diplomat and Korea specialist Mintaro Oba.
South Korea's Ambassador to the US says he is hopeful that a second meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place.
"Xi Jinping said that the legitimate issues raised by the DPRK are rightful demands and that he fully agrees that the DPRK's reasonable interests should be justly resolved", it said, using the official country name the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "But we are using various channels including the embassy in Beijing to communicate with North Korea".
Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June for the first-ever leaders' meeting between their nations, but there has been a standoff ever since, with dueling accusations of bad faith.
Trump said last week that he will be setting up a meeting with Kim "in the not-too-distant future" to restart talks about the North's nuclear programs after their summit in Singapore last summer.
Tuesday's meeting focused on Kim's expected meeting with Trump, according to Yonhap.
China benefits greatly from having a stable North Korea on their border as a buffer zone between them and the more western oriented South Korea.
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As Kim's armored train pulled into Beijing Railway Station on Tuesday, a few blocks away a US trade delegation was hammering out differences with their Chinese counterparts in an effort to end the trade war between the two countries.
Analysts here said the North Korean leader is seeking to strengthen its negotiating position by aligning the country and China ahead of his meeting with Trump.
A second Kim-Trump meeting is expected soon, and the North Korean and Chinese leaders had far deeper security discussions this time in Beijing than in any of their talks a year ago, pointed out Lim Eul-chul, professor of North Korean studies at Kyungnam University.
President Xi Jinping has welcomed Kim Jong-un's commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Xi greeted Kim at Beijing's ornate Great Hall of the People on Tuesday - believed to be the North Korean leader's birthday - before hosting a welcome banquet for Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju.
All sides should "jointly push for a comprehensive resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue", he said. "To ensure peace and security, we will facilitate denuclearization and play a constructive role in maintaining long-term peace in the region", Xi said.
There was a "rare historic opportunity" for a political settlement on the peninsula, Xi said according to Xinhua, and China "supports the DPRK and the United States holding summits and achieving results". Experts agree that while neither the U.S. nor China is "winning" in the trade war, China may be at a disadvantage.
"I don't think they believe it's impossible under President Trump. and this is one of drivers for Xi Jinping to keep Kim Jong Un close", Glaser said, noting that Xi reached out "very quickly" after Kim started engaging with Moon.