Daily Mail report exposes China investing and infiltrating K-12 public school program: ‘The Chinese Communist Party wants the next generation of American leaders to be amenable to its political aims’


Important Takeaways:

  • Iowa high schoolers thank ‘Grandpa Xi’ for ‘fully funding’ field trips to China: Emails expose how Beijing is infiltrating American public classrooms
  • The Chinese Communist Party paid for multiple trips to China for small-town Iowa high schoolers who exchanged letters with President Xi Jinping and praised the country and its leader.
  • Shocking correspondence exclusively reviewed by DailyMail.com reveals lengthy emails between public school officials in Muscatine, Iowa, and Chinese government officials to coordinate several field trips to the Asian country.
  • One Chinese language teacher who helped organize a previously reported January 2024 trip to China informed the Muscatine Community School District officials that the journey for 24 students would be fully paid for by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
  • Further, email correspondence between Muscatine administrators reviewed by DailyMail.com indicates that a third trip to China is tentatively scheduled for Muscatine students in October.
  • ‘In the past few days, the Chinese consulate has been in contact with me regarding the upcoming China trip,’ the Chinese language teacher wrote to fellow administrators.
  • ‘We have been invited by the Ministry of Education of China to visit at the end of January.’
  • ‘You’re all invited and China will cover all of the costs,’ the note continued.
  • Days later, two dozen Muscatine High School students were flown to China for a eight day trip flush with visits to the Great Wall of China and the Chinese Ministry of Education.
  • In February, Chinese state-run TV outlet CCTV visited Muscatine High School to interview students about their trip.
  • Students heaped praise on the country, with a group of them telling the outlet ‘I love you, China.’
  • The students also sang a song celebrating Chinese President Xi Jinping for helping them visit the country.
  • ‘Thank you Grandpa Xi,’ one student said in mandarin, before adding ‘China is vast and beautiful.’
  • ‘The Chinese Communist Party wants the next generation of American leaders to be amenable to its political aims and willing to dismiss the plethora of atrocities it’s committed, including genocide,’ investigative fellow at Parents Defending Education Alex Nester told DailyMail.com.
  • ‘American schools are playing right into the CCP’s hands,’ she continued. ”All expenses paid’ does not mean ‘free’ when we’re talking about the communist regime in China.’
  • ‘The CCP has openly stated that infiltrating the American education system is a top priority,’ Nester told DailyMail.com. ‘Adults need to wake up and realize what’s really happening under their watch.’
  • The Chinese president said at the time he aims to bring 50,000 American students to Asian country in the next five years.
  • The elderly Iowan has a longstanding relationship with the Chinese leader dating back to 1985 when she hosted him and other Chinese officials visiting the midwest.
  • They toured farms and manufacturing facilities during their research into American food production systems.
  • Previously, Parents Defending Education published a report indicating that the Chinese government was investing millions in public schools across the country.
  • The report said that the close coordination between the CCP and U.S. schools to establish Confucius Classrooms has historically included 143 school districts in 34 states and Washington, D.C.
  • In addition, at least seven contracts are still active in Texas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington.

Read the original article by clicking here.

Kazakhstan president gives order to eliminate protestors calling them terrorists

Revelations 20:7-8 7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.

Important Takeaways:

  • Kazakhstan president tells troops to ‘shoot to kill without warning’ as he vows to ‘completely eliminate’ protesters and gives ‘special thanks’ to Putin for his help
  • The unrest was fueled by public anger over the country’s former ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev and his family amassing a huge fortune, and over a hike in fuel prices
  • President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said Friday he had ordered his forces to shoot-to-kill to deal with disturbances from those he called bandits and terrorists, a day after Russia sent troops to put down a countrywide uprising.
  • A former banker who casts himself as the leader of the Kazakh opposition protests said Kazakhstan is now in geopolitical play and unless the West enters the fray then Russia will bring the Central Asian republic to heel in a type of restored Soviet Union.
  • While western nations urged for restraint, Kazakhstan’s other major neighbor, China, has backed Tokayev.
  • China’s President Xi Jinping praised him for taking ‘strong measures’ and ‘being highly responsible for your country and your people.’

Read the original article by clicking here.

China’s Communist Party passes resolution amplifying President Xi’s authority

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s ruling Communist Party approved a rare resolution on Thursday elevating President Xi Jinping’s status in its history, in a move seen as consolidating his authority and likelihood of securing an unprecedented third leadership term next year.

The resolution on the party’s “achievements and historical experiences” since its founding 100 years ago was passed at the end of a four-day, closed-door meeting of more than 300 top leaders on its Central Committee, state media reported.

It puts Xi on the same pedestal as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, two previous leaders who cemented their position as pre-eminent leader with the only other two such resolutions passed, in 1945 and 1981 respectively.

At this week’s meeting, known as the Sixth Plenum, the party elevated the role of Xi in one of its ideologies by crediting him for the first time in an official document as “the main innovator” behind “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.”

The party had previously defined this ideology as the product of “the experiences and collective wisdom of the party and the people.”

Experts say “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” might be shortened to simply “Xi Jinping Thought” by the Party Congress in the latter half of next year, when Xi is almost certain to secure a precedent-breaking third term as party leader.

According to the end-of-meeting communique reported by state media, the party decided that a conclusion to draw from its century of his was that it must “resolutely uphold Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position” in the party.

Commenting on the move Jude Blanchette, an expert on Chinese politics at Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the messaging around Xi from the party was assuming “cult-like features.”

Party delegates, seated in rows facing Xi, voted the resolution by a show of hand, news footage of the meeting on state television CCTV showed.

“Given the party’s emphasis on discipline and loyalty, the consequences of not supporting the resolution for any party member would be disastrous,” Yang Chaohui, a lecturer of political science at Peking University, told Reuters.

Xi is widely seen as China’s most powerful leader since Mao.

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian, Gabriel Crossley and Tony Munroe; Editing by Toby Chopra, Clarence Fernandez and Alex Richardson)

China jails citizen-journalist for four years over Wuhan virus reporting

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A Chinese court on Monday handed down a four-year jail term to a citizen-journalist who reported from the central city of Wuhan at the peak of this year’s coronavirus outbreak on the grounds of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, her lawyer said.

Zhang Zhan, 37, the first such person known to have been tried, was among a handful of people whose firsthand accounts from crowded hospitals and empty streets painted a more dire picture of the pandemic epicenter than the official narrative.

“I don’t understand. All she did was say a few true words, and for that she got four years,” said Shao Wenxia, Zhang’s mother, who attended the trial with her husband.

Zhang’s lawyer Ren Quanniu told Reuters: “We will probably appeal.”

The trial was held at a court in Pudong, a district of the business hub of Shanghai.

“Ms. Zhang believes she is being persecuted for exercising her freedom of speech,” Ren had said before the trial.

Critics say that China deliberately arranged for Zhang’s trial to take place during the Western holiday season to minimize Western attention and scrutiny. U.S. President Donald Trump has regularly criticized Beijing for covering up the emergence of what he calls the “China virus”.

The United Nations human rights office called in a tweet for Zhang’s release.

“We raised her case with the authorities throughout 2020 as an example of the excessive clampdown on freedom of expression linked to #COVID19 & continue to call for her release,” it said.

Criticism of China’s early handling of the crisis has been censored, and whistle-blowers such as doctors warned. State media have credited the country’s success in reining in the virus to the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

The virus has spread worldwide to infect more than 80 million people and kill more than 1.76 million, paralyzing air travel as nations threw up barriers that have disrupted industries and livelihoods.

In Shanghai, police enforced tight security outside the court where the trial opened seven months after Zhang’s detention, although some supporters were undeterred.

A man in a wheelchair, who told Reuters he came from the central province of Henan to demonstrate support for Zhang as a fellow Christian, wrote her name on a poster before police escorted him away.

Foreign journalists were denied entry to the court “due to the epidemic,” court security officials said.

A former lawyer, Zhang arrived in Wuhan on Feb. 1 from her home in Shanghai.

Her short video clips uploaded to YouTube consist of interviews with residents, commentary and footage of a crematorium, train stations, hospitals and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Detained in mid-May, she went on hunger strike in late June, court documents seen by Reuters say. Her lawyers told the court that police strapped her hands and force-fed her with a tube. By December, she was suffering headaches, giddiness, stomach ache, low blood pressure and a throat infection.

Requests to the court to release Zhang on bail before the trial and livestream the trial were ignored, her lawyer said.

Other citizen-journalists who have disappeared in China without explanation include Fang Bin, Chen Qiushi and Li Zehua.

While there has been no news of Fang, Li re-emerged in a YouTube video in April to say he was forcibly quarantined, while Chen, although released, is under surveillance and has not spoken publicly, a friend has said.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Yew Lun Tian in Beijing; Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva. Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Hugh Lawson and Nick Macfie)

China shows off new destroyer as Xi views naval parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews the honor guards of the Chinese People’s Liberation (PLA) Navy before boarding the destroyer Xining for the naval parade celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in Qingdao, Shandong province, China April 23, 2019. Xinhua via REUTERS

By Ben Blanchard

QINGDAO, China (Reuters) – China showed off the first of its new generation of guided missile destroyers on Tuesday as President Xi Jinping reviewed a major naval parade through mist and rain to mark 70 years since the founding of China’s navy.

Xi is overseeing a sweeping plan to refurbish the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by developing everything from stealth jets to aircraft carriers as China ramps up its presence in the disputed South China Sea and around self-ruled Taiwan, which has rattled nerves around the region and in Washington.

The navy has been a major beneficiary of the modernization, with China looking to project power far from its shores and protect its trading routes and citizens overseas.

After boarding the destroyer the Xining, which was only commissioned two years ago, Xi watched as a flotilla of Chinese and foreign ships sailed past, in waters off the eastern port city of Qingdao.

“Salute to you, comrades. Comrades, thanks for your hard work,” Xi called out to the officers standing on deck as the ships sailed past, in images carried on state television.

Chinese navy personnel perform at an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in Qingdao, China, April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Chinese navy personnel perform at an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in Qingdao, China, April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

“Hail to you, chairman,” they replied. “Serve the people.”

China’s first domestically produced aircraft carrier, which is still unnamed and undergoing sea trials, was not present, though the carrier the Liaoning was, the report said.

The Liaoning, the country’s first carrier, was bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998 and refitted in China.

State television also showed pictures of the Nanchang at the review, the first of a new fleet of 10,000-tonne destroyers, though details of that and other ships were hard to determine from the footage, due to the intermittent thick mist and rain.

China had said it would also show new nuclear submarines, and state television did show submarines taking part in the display.

Singapore-based regional security expert Collin Koh said that based on the available evidence, the larger submarine on show was a modified version of China’s existing Jin-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines – a key part of its nuclear deterrent.

The navy has four Jin-class submarines, which are based in Hainan island in the south, and the Pentagon says it believes construction on a new generation of ballistic missile submarines will start in the 2020s.

“It does appear that this is a modified version rather than an entirely new submarine, something which would have been a more significant development,” said Koh, of Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

“Outside analysts still don’t have a complete picture of the precise modifications.”

China’s last major naval parade was last year in the South China Sea, also overseen by Xi.

Tuesday’s parade featured 32 Chinese vessels and 39 aircraft, as well as warships from 13 foreign countries including India, Japan, Vietnam and Australia.

A total of 61 countries have sent delegations to the event, which includes a naval symposium on Wednesday and Thursday.

For a special report on China’s military click:

Chinese Navy's destroyer Shijiagzuang takes part in a naval parade off the eastern port city of Qingdao, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy, China, April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Chinese Navy’s destroyer Shijiagzuang takes part in a naval parade off the eastern port city of Qingdao, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, China, April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee


Earlier, meeting foreign naval officers at Qingdao’s Olympic sailing center, Xi said the navies of the world should work together to protect maritime peace and order.

“The Chinese people love and long for peace, and will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development,” Xi said, in remarks carried by the official Xinhua news agency.

“Everyone should respect each other, treat each other as equals, enhance mutual trust, strengthen maritime dialogue and exchanges, and deepen pragmatic cooperation between navies,” he added.

“There cannot be resorts to force or threats of force at the slightest pretext,” Xi said.

“All countries should adhere to equal consultations, improve crisis communication mechanisms, strengthen regional security cooperation, and promote the proper settlement of maritime-related disputes.”

China has frequently had to rebuff concerns about its military intentions, especially as its defense spending reaches new heights.

Beijing says it has nothing to hide, and invited a small number of foreign media onboard a naval ship to watch the parade, including from Reuters.

China’s last naval battles were with Vietnam in the South China Sea in 1974 and 1988, though these were relatively minor skirmishes. Chinese ships have also participated in international anti-piracy patrols off Somalia since late 2008.

The United States has sent a low-level delegation to Qingdao, led by the naval attache at its Beijing embassy, and no ships.

However, the USS Blue Ridge, the command ship of the Japan-based U.S. Seventh Fleet, is visiting Hong Kong, having arrived in the city on Saturday.

A senior U.S. naval official aboard the ship said the Seventh Fleet would continue its extensive operations in the region, including so-called freedom of navigation operations to challenge excessive maritime claims.

China objects to such patrols close to the Chinese-held features in the Paracels and Spratlys archipelago in the South China Sea, where U.S. warships are routinely shadowed by Chinese vessels.

The U.S. official said he believed an incident last September, when a Chinese destroyer sailed within 45 meters of the American destroyer USS Decatur, was an isolated event and other routine interactions with the PLA navy had proved more professional.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Greg Torode in HONG HONG; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel)

In sensitive year for China, warnings against ‘erroneous thoughts’

FILE PHOTO: Workers decorate the party activity room next to a portrait of Chinese president Xi Jinping at Tidal Star Group headquarters in Beijing, China, February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party is ramping up calls for political loyalty in a year of sensitive anniversaries, warning against “erroneous thoughts” as officials fall over themselves to pledge allegiance to President Xi Jinping and his philosophy.

This year is marked by some delicate milestones: 30 years since the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square; 60 years since the Dalai Lama fled from Tibet into exile; and finally, on Oct. 1, 70 years since the founding of Communist China.

Born of turmoil and revolution, the Communist Party came to power in 1949 on the back of decades of civil war in which millions died, and has always been on high alert for “luan”, or “chaos”, and valued stability above all else.

“This year is the 70th anniversary of the founding of new China,” Xi told legislators from Inner Mongolia on Tuesday, the opening day of the annual meeting of parliament. “Maintaining sustained, healthy economic development and social stability is a mission that is extremely arduous.”

Xi has tightened the party’s grip on almost every facet of government and life since assuming power in late 2012.

Last year parliament amended the country’s constitution to remove term limits and allow him to stay in office for the rest of his life, should he so wish, though it is unclear if that will happen and Xi has not mentioned it in public.

Later in the year the party will likely hold a plenum of its top leadership focused on what China calls “party building”, diplomats and sources with ties to China’s leadership say, a concept that refers to furthering party control and ensuring its instructions are followed to the letter.

In late January the party again stressed loyalty in new rules on “strengthening party political building”, telling members they should not fake loyalty or be “low-level red”, in a lengthy document carried by state media.

“Be on high alert to all kinds of erroneous thoughts, vague understandings, and bad phenomena in ideological areas,” it warned. “Keep your eyes open, see things early and move on them fast.”


On March 1, Xi spoke at the Central Party School, which trains rising officials, mentioning the word “loyalty” at least seven times, according to official accounts in state media.

Xi noted that whether an official is loyal to the party is a key gauge of whether they have ideals and convictions. “Loyalty always comes first,” he said.

Duncan Innes-Ker, regional director for Asia at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said China was concerned about resistance at lower levels to following party orders, the slowing economy and also about demands for political reforms as people get steadily richer.

“The desire for control is not something particular to any time period,” he said. “It is a fundamental tenet of autocratic governments that they are constantly paranoid about being overthrown.”

Xi looms large over this year’s session of China’s largely rubber stamp parliament, known as the National People’s Congress, which has always been stacked with people chosen for their absolute fealty to the party.

Government ministers who spoke to reporters on the sidelines of parliament’s opening session on Tuesday peppered their comments with references to Xi – 16 times in all.

Customs minister Ni Yuefeng said that Xi himself “pays great attention to not allowing foreign garbage into the country”, a reference to China’s ban on solid waste imports, part of the country’s war on pollution.

“Ideology comes first this year,” said one Western diplomat who is attending the parliamentary sessions as an observer. “It’s all about the 70th anniversary.”


The party has increasingly been making rooting out disloyalty and wavering from the party line a disciplinary offense to be enforced by its anti-corruption watchdog, whose role had ostensibly been to go after criminal acts such as bribery and lesser bureaucratic transgressions.

The graft buster said last month it would “uncover political deviation” in its political inspections this year of provincial governments and ministries.

Top graft buster Zhao Leji, in a January speech to the corruption watchdog, a full transcript of which the party released late February, used the word “loyalty” eight times.

“Set an example with your loyalty to the party,” Zhao said.

China has persistently denied its war on corruption is about political maneuvering or Xi taking down his enemies. Xi told an audience in Seattle in 2015 that the anti-graft fight was no “House of Cards”-style power play, in a reference to the Netflix U.S. political drama.

The deeper fear for the party is some sort of unrest or a domestic or even international event fomenting a crisis that could end its rule.

Xi told officials in January they need to be on high alert for “black swan” events..

That same month the top law-enforcement official said China’s police must focus on withstanding “color revolutions”, or popular uprisings, and treat the defense of China’s political system as central to their work.

The party has meanwhile shown no interest in political reform, and has been doubling down on the merits of the Communist Party, including this month rolling out English-language propaganda videos on state media-run Twitter accounts to laud “Chinese democracy”. Twitter remains blocked in China.

The official state news agency Xinhua said in an English-language commentary on Sunday that China was determined to stick to its political model and rejected Western-style democracy.

“The country began to learn about democracy a century ago, but soon found Western politics did not work here. Decades of turmoil and civil war followed,” it said.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Alex Richardson)

China outlaws large underground Protestant church in Beijing

FILE PHOTO: The head pastor of the Zion church in Beijing Jin Mingri poses for picures in the lobby of the unofficial Protestant "house" church in Beijing, China, August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

By Christian Shepherd

BEIJING (Reuters) – Beijing city authorities have banned one of the largest unofficial Protestant churches in the city and confiscated “illegal promotional materials”, amid a deepening crackdown on China’s “underground” churches.

The Zion church had for years operated with relative freedoms, hosting hundreds of worshippers every weekend in an expansive specially renovated hall in north Beijing.

But since April, after they rejected requests from authorities to install closed-circuit television cameras in the building, the church has faced growing pressure from the authorities and has been threatened with eviction.

On Sunday, the Beijing Chaoyang district civil affairs bureau said that by organizing events without registering, the church was breaking rules forbidding mass gatherings and were now “legally banned” and its “illegal promotional material” had been confiscated, according to images of the notice sent to Reuters late on Sunday and confirmed by churchgoers.

“I fear that there is no way for us to resolve this issue with the authorities,” Zion’s Pastor Jin Mingri told Reuters.

China’s religious affairs and civil affairs bureaux did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China’s constitution guarantees religious freedom, but since President Xi Jinping took office six years ago the government has tightened restrictions on religions seen as a challenge to the authority of the ruling Communist Party.

Churches across China have faced new waves of harassment and pressure to register since a new set of regulations to govern religious affairs in China came into effect in February and heightened punishments for unofficial churches.

In July, more than 30 of Beijing’s hundreds of underground Protestant churches took the rare step of releasing a joint statement complaining of “unceasing interference” and the “assault and obstruction” of regular activities of believers since the new regulations came into effect.

China’s Christian believers are split between those who attend unofficial “house” or “underground” churches and those who attend government-sanctioned places of worship.

Churchgoers were also given a notice from the district religious affairs bureau saying that the “great masses of believer must respect the rules and regulations and attend events in legally registered places of religious activity”.

Zion’s attendees were also given pamphlets of officially sanctioned churches that they might attend instead.

But for many worshippers and pastors, such as Jin, accepting the oversight and ultimate authority of the Communist Party would be a betrayal of their faith.

“On this land, the only one we can trust in is God,” Jin said.

(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Michael Perry)

North, South Korea fix April date for first summit in years

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon is greeted by his North Korean counterpart Ri Son Gwon as he arrives for their meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, March 29, 2018. Korea Pool/Yonhap via REUTERS

By Christine Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, South Korean officials said on Thursday, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization as tensions ease between the old foes.

South Korean officials, who announced the date after high-level talks with North Korean counterparts, said the agenda would largely be denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and improving inter-Korean relations.

The two Koreas had agreed to hold the summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom when South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent a delegation to Pyongyang this month to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Thursday’s meeting was the first high-level dialogue between the two Koreas since the delegation returned from the North.

The two sides said in a joint statement they would hold a working-level meeting on April 4 to discuss details of the summit, such as staffing support, security and news releases.

“We still have a fair number of issues to resolve on a working level for preparations over the next month,” said Ri Son Gwon, the chairman of North Korea’s committee for the peaceful reunification of the country in closing remarks to the South Korean delegation.

“But if the two sides deeply understand the historic significance and meaning of this summit and give their all, we will be able to solve all problems swiftly and amicably,” Ri added.

Tension over North Korea’s tests of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile surged last year and raised fears of U.S. military action in response to North Korea’s threat to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.

But tension has eased significantly since North Korea decided to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. The neighbours are technically still at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended with a ceasefire, not a truce.

China commended both sides for their efforts to improve ties.

“We hope the momentum of dialogue can continue and that the peaceful situation also can last,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a briefing.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was encouraged by the recent developments with North Korea.

“I believe that in this world where unfortunately so many problems seem not to have a solution, I think there is here an opportunity for a peaceful solution to something that a few months ago was haunting us as the biggest danger we were facing,” Guterres told reporters on Thursday.


Kim is scheduled to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in May to discuss denuclearization, although a time and place have not been set.

Kim met Chinese President Xi Jinping in a surprise visit to Beijing this week, his first trip outside the isolated North since he came to power in 2011.

Even more surprising was Kim’s pledge to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. That commitment was reported by Chinese state media, although North Korea’s official media made no mention of it, or Kim’s anticipated meeting with Trump.

A senior Chinese official visiting Seoul on Thursday to brief South Korea on Kim’s visit to Beijing said it should help ease tension and lead to the denuclearization of the peninsula.

“We believe his visit will help the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, ensure peace and security of the Korean peninsula and resolve problems regarding the peninsula through political negotiations and discussions,” Yang Jiechi said in opening remarks during a meeting with South Korea’s National Security Office head, Chung Eui-yong.

Yang, a top Chinese diplomat, is scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon told reporters Kim’s visit to China was not discussed with North Korean officials in their Thursday talks.

Trump and Kim had exchanged insults and veiled threats of war in recent months but the U.S. leader made the surprising announcement this month that he was prepared to meet Kim to discuss the crisis over the North’s development of weapons.

The North Korean leader’s engagement with the international community has sparked speculation that he may try to meet other leaders. Japan’s Asahi newspaper said Japan had sounded out the North Korean government about a summit.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono left open the possibility that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might meet Kim at some point. Kono said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that Japan was closely watching preparations for the North-South Korean summit and the Trump-Kim meeting.

Xi promised that Beijing would uphold its friendship with North Korea after his meeting with Kim.

Trump wrote on Twitter he had received a message from Xi late on Tuesday that his meeting with Kim “went very well” and that Kim looked forward to meeting the U.S. president.

(Reporting by Christine Kim; Additional reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING and Michelle Nichols at the UNITED NATIONS; Editing by Robert Birsel and James Dalgleish)

China says North Korea’s Kim pledged commitment to denuclearization

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in this still image taken from video released on March 28, 2018. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited China from Sunday to Wednesday on an unofficial visit, China's state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday. CCTV via Reuters TV

By Ben Blanchard and Joyce Lee

BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization and to meet U.S. officials, China said on Wednesday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold friendship with its isolated neighbor.

After two days of speculation, China and North Korea both confirmed that Kim had traveled to Beijing and met Xi during what China called an unofficial visit from Sunday to Wednesday.

The visit was Kim’s first known trip outside North Korea since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States.

North Korea’s KCNA news agency made no mention of Kim’s pledge to denuclearize, or his anticipated meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump that is planned for some time in May.

China has traditionally been secretive North Korea’s closest ally but ties have been frayed by its pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing of tough U.N. sanctions in response.

China’s Foreign Ministry cited Kim in a lengthy statement as telling Xi the situation on the Korean peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tension and put forward proposals for talks.

“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim Jong Un said, according to the ministry.

North Korea was willing to talk with the United States and hold a summit between the two countries, he said.

“The issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said.


Kim Jong Un’s predecessors, grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Il, both promised not to pursue nuclear weapons but secretly maintained programs to develop them, culminating in the North’s first nuclear test in 2006 under Kim Jong Il.

The North had said in previous, failed talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear program it could consider giving up its arsenal if the United States removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.

Many analysts and former negotiators believe this still constitutes North Korea’s stance and remain deeply skeptical Kim is willing to give up the weapons his family has been developing for decades.

At first wrapped in secrecy, the announcement of Kim Jong Un’s visit soon became the third-most discussed topic on China’s Weibo microblogging site, although many state media outlets blocked their comments sections.

Widely read Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times praised the meeting as proving naysayers wrong about Beijing-Pyongyang relations.

“China and North Korea maintaining their friendly relations provides a positive force for the whole region and promotes strategic stability in northeast Asia,” it said in an editorial.

Kim’s appearance in Beijing involved almost all the trappings of a state visit, complete with an honor guard and banquet at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

Kim and Xi also met at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, where Kim Il Sung planted a tree in 1959 that still stands.

State television showed pictures of the two men chatting and Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, getting a warm welcome from Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan.


China briefed Trump on Kim’s visit and the communication included a personal message from Xi to Trump, the White House said in a statement.

“The United States remains in close contact with our allies South Korea and Japan. We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea,” it said.

Analysts said the meeting strengthened North Korea’s position ahead of any meeting with Trump by aligning Beijing and Pyongyang while reassuring China it was not being sidelined in any negotiations.

“It seems that North Korea is not ready to deal with the United States without support and help from its longtime ally China,” said Han Suk-hee, professor of Chinese Studies at South Korea’s Yonsei University.

A top Chinese diplomat, Politburo member Yang Jiechi, will brief officials, including President Moon Jae-in, in Seoul on Thursday about the Beijing talks, the presidential office in Seoul said.

Kim told a banquet hosted by Xi the visit was intended to “maintain our great friendship and continue and develop our bilateral ties at a time of rapid developments on the Korean peninsula”, according to KCNA.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan meet, as Kim Jong Un paid an unofficial visit to Beijing, China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan meet, as Kim Jong Un paid an unofficial visit to Beijing, China, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters

Xi had accepted an invitation “with pleasure” from him to visit North Korea, KCNA said.

China made no mention of Xi accepting an invitation, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang pointed to a line in their statement citing Xi as saying he is willing to maintain regular communications with North Korea via visits and exchanges of envoys and messages.

“I have to say that China and North Korea have a tradition of high-level mutual visits,” Lu told a daily news briefing.

China had largely sat on the sidelines as North Korea improved relations with South Korea recently, raising worry in Beijing that it was no longer a central player in the North Korean issue, reinforced by Trump’s subsequent announcement of his proposed meeting with Kim Jong Un in May.

“China is North Korea’s lifeline, so the notion, from a Chinese perspective, that Kim Jong Un could have had these other two meetings before meeting with Xi Jinping, I think the Chinese just thought that is not going to happen,” said Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center in Beijing and the former White House representative to North Korea denuclearization talks from 2007-2009.

(Additional reporting by Christine Kim and Soyoung Kim in SEOUL, David Stanway and John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI and Ayesha Rascoe in WASHINGTON; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

Wary of Trump, China launches EU charm offensive: diplomats

FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before a meeting held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool/File Photo

By Robin Emmott and Ben Blanchard

BRUSSELS/BEIJING (Reuters) – China has launched a charm offensive with the European Union since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, shifting its stance on trade negotiations and signaling closer cooperation on a range of other issues, European diplomats say.

European envoys in Brussels and Beijing sense a greater urgency from China to find allies willing to stand up for globalization amid fears Trump could undermine it with his protectionist “America First” policies.

“Trump is pushing China and Europe together,” said one Beijing-based diplomat, citing Chinese support for trade, combating climate change and the United Nations, all areas where the new U.S. president is seeking a change of tack.

Four senior EU diplomats and officials in close contact with the Chinese told Reuters they also see a chance for a breakthrough on business issues that have been moving slowly for years, including a special treaty to increase investment flows.

EU business groups are more skeptical, expressing growing dissatisfaction, like their U.S. counterparts, with limited market access in China and pressing for a firmer response.

Diplomats say one of the clearest outward signs of a change in tone in private diplomatic meetings has been China’s decision to drop its public campaign to be recognized by the European Union as an economy directed by the market, not the state.

The case is now being dealt with out of the limelight at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, in what the diplomats said was a recognition by Beijing that too much pressure could provoke a protectionist backlash in Europe.

Market economy status would make it harder for the European Union to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports that Brussels judges as unfairly cheap.

“The market economy status issue, if it is raised at all now, is being discussed at a very low working level,” the diplomat said. “That is part of the charm offensive.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the issue was still a priority for Beijing, while also noting China’s interest in having the EU as a strong partner.

“We hope that the EU can genuinely place an importance on China’s reasonable concerns and interests,” Hua said.

China has told European officials it wants to bring forward its annual summit with the European Union from its usual July date, Reuters reported in February. The diplomats said efforts to find a suitable early date were continuing.

The summit is a way, they said, for China to press home President Xi Jinping’s message at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, a vigorous defense of open trade and global ties.


European companies doing business in China say they have yet to see the change of style translating into less protectionism from Beijing.

But it contrasts sharply with a tense 2016 in which an EU-China summit, overshadowed by an international court ruling that China’s claims to the South China Sea were unlawful, ended without the usual joint statement.

Trump has changed China’s calculations, diplomats said.

During his presidential campaign, Trump frequently accused China of keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar to make Chinese exports cheaper, “stealing” American manufacturing jobs.

He also aims to reverse former President Barack Obama’s anti-fossil fuel strategy that China backed as it seeks to deal with a devastating smog crisis at home.

The Trump administration has said Xi is expected to meet Trump on April 6-7 at the U.S. leader’s Mar-a-Lago resort in the United States, although Beijing has not confirmed the talks. A Chinese diplomat said Beijing was looking for “predictability” from Trump.

The European Union remains cautious about the direction of its second-largest trading partner, concerned by China’s massive steel exports, its militarization of islands in the South China Sea and a turn toward greater authoritarianism under Xi.

But it is looking to a bilateral investment treaty to make it easier for European companies to do business in China and remove onerous rules forcing them to share know-how.

Chinese direct investment in the European Union jumped by 77 percent last year to more than 35 billion euros ($38 billion), compared to 2015, while EU acquisitions in China fell for the second consecutive year, according to the Rhodium Group.

That illustrates the imbalance in investment between the world’s two largest markets, including, on the EU side, Britain, where the government is pinning its hopes on a free trade deal with China as it splits from the rest of the bloc.

An investment treaty would go some way to quiet criticism in Europe of such unequal ties but the talks, which started in 2013, require Beijing to open sensitive sectors like technology and financial services to private firms free of the state.

China’s central bank governor Zhou Xiochuan indicated on Sunday a substantial number of sectors would be opened up while adding “we want China to get fair treatment overseas”.

One Chinese diplomat said the European Union was being “too ambitious”. Formal mention of the proposed China-EU treaty has been struck from Premier Li Keqiang’s work report this year, which diplomats said risked confusing Beijing’s message.

“We had hoped President Xi’s speech in Davos would elevate us from rhetoric about equal treatment toward a tangible commitment to walk the talk,” said Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

Duncan Freeman, a China expert at the College of Europe university in Belgium, said the treaty touched on the fundamentals of how the economy worked. “That makes it very, very difficult for the Chinese side to discuss,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Michael Martina in Beijing; editing by Philippa Fletcher)