UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the "reported commitment" by North Korea towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
Bracing for an unprecedented meeting with US President Donald Trump, North Korea's reclusive dictator Kim made a secret trip to Beijing to seek Chinese President Xi Jinping's backing while pledging support for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
"The secretary-general welcomes the reported commitment by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to denuclearisation," a statement issued by the UN Chief's spokesman, Farhan Haq read today.
"The secretary-general views the latest positive developments as the start of a longer process of sincere dialogue, leading to sustainable peace and denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula," it said.
Answering questions on Guterres' response to the crucial meeting in Beijing, Haq told reporters here that the secretary-general hoped that all of the recent positive signals would help to lead towards the peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
"Ultimately, we want to make sure that all of these steps can lead to sustainable peace and the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in line with the resolutions of the Security Council," Haq said.
Kim undertook the surprise two-day visit to Beijing, his first known trip abroad since taking power in 2011.
Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Kim as telling Xi that "the friendship between North Korea and China that was personally created and nurtured together by former generations of leaders from both our sides is unshakable".
Following the meeting, US President Donald Trump tweeted that North Korea's reported commitment showed that the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula could be possible.
"For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility.
Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong-un will do what is right for his people and for humanity.
Look forward to our meeting!," Trump said in a tweet.
"Received message last night from XI JINPING of China that his meeting with KIM JONG UN went very well and that KIM looks forward to his meeting with me.
In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost!," he said.
Lindsey Ford, Director for Asian Security at Asia Society, said the Kim-Xi meet was a "stunning about-face for a relationship that had been overtly frosty in recent years.
"It shows degree to which both leaders felt need to seize the tactical initiative before their meetings with Trump and Moon (Jae-in)," she said.