Heightened security sparked speculation Kim Jong-un had arrived in Beijing

Saturday, 31 Mar, 2018

-South Korean military exercises and removing USA troops as well as the nuclear umbrella over South Korea and Japan.

The two held talks at the Great Hall of the People, and the North Korean leader told Mr Xi his nuclear- armed regime was "committed to denuclearisation". Trump's new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has floated a possibility of the U.S. pursuing North Korea's regime change.

"Prospects of the US-North Korea summit became grimmer", said Park Won-gon, a professor at Handong Global University.

"There's only a month left before the North-South summit", Ri told South Korean delegates to the meeting, "and during this short period, there are many things to discuss at the working-level".

The two Koreas had agreed earlier in March to hold such a summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom. The agreement between the two countries to meet on April 27 was finalized after Kim had pledged to denuclearize the region, as Reuters noted.

He also expressed hopes for an outcome that would meet the "hope and desire of the nation".

Beijing broadcast its official version of events through carefully curated photos and statements showing the leaders smiling and recalling their countries' decades-long relationship.

Remaining optimistic, however, is President Trump.

Cho, in response, said officials should do their best to arrange a successful summit as the "current situation was created by decisions by the highest leaders of the North and South".

The prospective meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korea's Chairman Kim Jong Un would be historic, and regardless of the outcome it will have major implications for years to come.

Christopher Hill, who negotiated with the North as the head of the US delegation under the George W. Bush administration, believes North Korea needs to demonstrate that it will agree to a verification protocol on denuclearization for diplomatic efforts to advance.

China's main priority has been keeping North Korea's economy afloat to keep it as a buffer state between itself and South Korea, home to 28,500 USA troops. Xi went as far as to stress that "no matter how the worldwide and regional situation changes", China would continue to maintain a strong relationship with North Korea.

The talks follow the summit earlier this week between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Yang met with presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong on Thursday and is to meet President Moon on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter he had received a message from Xi on Tuesday night that his meeting with Kim "went very well".

The Xi-Kim summit in Beijing prior to Kim's proposed meeting with Trump has enabled North Korea and China to develop a mutual understanding and Pyongyang to gain security promises from China, which will give Kim an advantage when he meets with Trump.

The Chinese leader added in turn that "China sticks to the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula and solving problems through dialogue and consultation". Plus, Xi's support for Kim is wildly unpopular among the Chinese.

Kim's visit from Sunday to Wednesday was shrouded in secrecy and only officially confirmed after he returned to Pyongyang.