|North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a factory run by Chinese pharmaceutical conglomerate Tong Ren Tang at Economic Technological Development Area in Beijing, Tuesday, before departing for Pyongyang. Yonhap|
Kim concludes two-day stay in Beijing
By Kim Bo-eun
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un departed for Pyongyang after visiting an industrial site in Beijing, Wednesday. The visit wrapped up Kim's two-day stay in the city, after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Tuesday.
His armored train left Beijing Station around 2 p.m. on the first leg of his journey to Dandong bordering North Korea that is expected to take around 14 hours.
Earlier in the day, Kim's motorcade was seen leaving the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and then stopping at a pharmaceutical factory in the state-run Economic Technological Development Area. The factory is run by Tong Ren Tang, the country's largest producer of traditional Oriental medicine.
Based on previous trips to China, Kim was expected to visit industrial facilities. In March he visited the technology hub of Zhongguancun known as China's Silicon Valley. In June he visited the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Beijing Infrastructure Investment Company.
As economic development is now the Kim regime's top priority, he is eager to see the advanced technologies and systems of developed nations. In his New Year address, he spoke extensively about his ambition to build the country's economy.
Kim's motorcade left around noon for the Beijing Hotel, where he was seen to have lunch with Xi.
After arriving in Beijing, Tuesday, Kim had a meeting with Xi and attended a dinner reception at the Great Hall of the People. Kim's motorcade left the hall six hours after its arrival. The leaders were seen to have discussed North Korea's plans for a second summit with U.S. President Trump.
China apparently prepared a grand banquet for Kim, whose 35th birthday was on Tuesday. Kim's visit also marks the 70th anniversary of ties between Pyongyang and Beijing.
The North's Korean Central News Agency stated Kim would be visiting China from Monday through Thursday. His train left Pyongyang on Monday and arrived in Beijing early Tuesday. He is set to return to Pyongyang Thursday.
It was Kim's fourth meeting with Xi in China since he took power in December 2011. The previous three were held last year. This was the first time both countries reported on the North Korean leader's visit hours before he arrived in Beijing. The first two summits were not reported until after Kim left China, and the third was disclosed on the second day of his visit.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has refrained from commenting on the meeting, which comes as a second summit between Kim and Trump is materializing. Trump previously stated the meeting would take place soon, and that talks were underway to decide on the location.
Pyongyang and Washington are known to be engaging in sub rosa talks for a ministerial-level meeting before the summit, to iron out denuclearization steps North Korea should take and corresponding measures from the U.S.
Kim's visit also takes place amid trade talks between Washington and Beijing. The visit is seen as China's intention to show the U.S. it can use North Korea as leverage in the trade negotiations.