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Trump agreed to meet Kim Jong Un by the end of May and the two Koreas will hold a summit by the end of April.

China fought alongside North Korea against the US-led forces in the Korean War, but relations have been testy since the North's nuclear plan started to pick up pace, and Mr Xi and Mr Kim have reportedly never met. The possible summit would also take place as the North snaps off regular weapons tests in a dogged march toward its goal of a viable nuclear arsenal that can threaten the US mainland. "South Korea planned military exercises", deputy White House spokesman Raj Shah said.

"We are very grateful to China for its consistent position", he said.

As Stanford political scientist Scott Sagan summarizes, "States will seek to develop nuclear weapons when they face a significant military threat to their security that can not be met through alternative means; if they do not face such threats, they willingly remain non-nuclear states."Kim is in this sense a rational actor in pursuit of regime survival and dynasty preservation, perceiving nukes as his sole effective tool".

Long reviled in the Western media as a pariah state with devilish ambitions, Pyongyang is showing real savvy on the political stage in an attempt to lure Trump to the negotiating table.

"Our policy is pressure, is pressure from our partners and allies around the world, pressure to the United Nations, pressure through China, these have had an impact". Professor Shi Yinhong, director of People's University's Center for American Studies and adviser to the State Council, lamented that as Trump prepares to meet with Kim Jong Un, China "can only stand on the sidelines and welcome the development, but it can nearly do nothing". "It's impacted his conduct", Shah said.

After having been the guarantor of North Korea's security, indeed, its very existence, for years and after having acceded to Mr Trump's numerous appeals for help, China today is in the awkward position of not knowing if either the U.S. or North Korea is willing to hold their unprecedented meeting on Chinese soil.

"But the important thing is the diplomatic work that has to go in before such a meeting".

"You have to look at USA overall interest in Asia", he said. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a frequent Trump critic.

The relationship between the two countries is very close, building upon a military alliance that dates back to 1950, when the US stepped in to defend the South against an invasion from the North - the Korean War. They were postponed during the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea. In fact, one could nearly make the case for some sort of divine intervention, considering that the Olympic Games were held in PyeongChang when they were. At the very least, it would give him bragging rights for being the first-ever sitting USA president to hold a meeting with a North Korean leader.

South Korea National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong made the announcement in front of the White House in Washington, DC, this weekend.

China, which has repeatedly pressed the U.S. and North Korea to hold talks, has urged Trump and Kim to hold their meeting as soon as possible. He noted in a tweet that North Korea has refrained from such tests since November and said Kim "has promised not to do so through our meetings".


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