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Xi’s remark about blood were unscripted

Comment about North came at tense moment during the summit
July 17,2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remark during his first summit with President Moon Jae-in on July 6 in Berlin that Pyongyang and Beijing are blood brothers was an impromptu remark according to diplomatic sources, a highly unusual move for the Chinese leader given how well planned his comments at such meetings usually are.

According to people familiar with the summit, as the meeting stretched from its originally planned 40 minutes to 75 minutes, the atmosphere became somewhat tense after Moon said Beijing should do more to get North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs. Xi then reportedly said China is doing its best.

Then came Xi’s impromptu remark about blood, a reference to China’s massive intervention at the height of the 1950-53 Korean War to help fend off the U.S.-led multinational forces in October 1950, when North Korea was on the brink of defeat.

An estimated 130,000 Chinese soldiers perished during the conflict, among them Mao Anying, the eldest son of Mao Zedong, the founder the People’s Republic of China.

“At the beginning of the talk, Xi looked upbeat, as he was said to have been fond of President Moon,” said one diplomatic source familiar with the summit, who asked not to be named. “But his face turned sour after Moon’s remark [that China should do more to rein in North Korea].”

Another diplomatic source told the JoongAng Ilbo that Xi’s remark was unscripted.

The bilateral talk came two days after North Korea launched what the Pentagon confirmed to have been its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile, shot from a mobile launcher.

According to a Chinese statement on the summit, Xi said problems concerning the Korean Peninsula must be resolved through dialogue. He then expressed support for Moon’s initiatives for dialogue with the North.

The thorny issue of the U.S. military’s deployment of an advanced antimissile system in South Korea was also discussed, according to a statement released by Chinese state-run media.

BY YOO JEE-HYE, KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]