According to the office of South Korea’s president and US officials Kim Jong might soon travel to China. They cited preparations that appear to be underway in the Chinese border city of Dandong and in Beijing. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it does not have information on whether Kim will visit China.
Such a trip could help restart six-party talks, hosted by China, aimed at persuading North Korea to denuclearize in return for economic and political benefits.
Kim is also attempting to accelerate Chinese investment and has ordered the creation of a State Development Bank. Officials from the new bank told a South Korean professor last week that they intend to allow the construction of foreign-owned factories in major North Korean cities. This would allow Chinese firms, many of which are running short of low-cost factory workers, access to North Korea’s pool of low-wage laborers.
If the investments move forward, they would represent a major policy reversal by the government. For six decades, North Korea has sealed almost all its citizens off from the "poisons" of capitalism.
Washington Post editorialized that outreach to China comes at a time of sharply increased pressure on Kim’s leadership.