Written by Lim Jin Jie

What happened?

It started out on Mar 26, when Japan’s Kyodo News reported that a special train was seen passing through the north-eastern border city of Dandong, China. This train (green with a yellow stripe) looked similar to the one used by Kim Jong-Il to visit China, which left people wondering if it was Kim Jong-Un in it. It was only after 36 hours later that the media reported Kim’s stealth visit to Beijing – his first international meeting with a foreign leader since taking power in 2011.

What’s so important about it?

Experts say this secret rendezvous was meant “to mend Pyongyang’s frayed ties with Beijing” –Beijing had intensified its sanctions on North Korea in January, reminding Kim Jong-Un that he needs China. China used this to reiterate its position in light of North Korea’s proposed talks with South Korea and America (probably feeling FOMO).

China gave Kim Jong-Un a lavish reception during his two-day visit to Beijing, in which both sides seemed to have patched things up. This was a drastic change in the tone of the relationship between the two nations, which had been rather cold since Kim Jong-Un took over.

It has been a whirlwind year for North Korea in diplomacy, sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February, having direct talks with the South Koreans, and further summit meetings with South Korean president Moon Jae-In (confirmed to be held on Apr 27) and with US president Donald Trump. Safe to say, North Korea is drawing much attention from the world’s leaders (Japan is said to want to jump on the bandwagon and jio North Korea to a meeting), and this really spices up the international political scene (not that it wasn’t already complicated).

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