Kim Jong Un may have visited Xi Jinping to figure out how to handle Trump

 

  • China has confirmed that Kim Jong Un traveled to China this week in his first overseas trip since  becoming North Korea's leader in 2011. 
  • Experts say Kim probably met with China to talk about how to deal with Trump and his negotiating style during future talks.
  • China knows well how to appease the US president during negotiations, giving Trump a lavish reception during a visit in November.

Kim Jong Un's visit to China this week may have been motivated by US President Donald Trump.

The visit — Kim's first trip outside North Korea since becoming leader in 2011 — came just weeks after Trump agreed to face-to-face talks, for which President Xi Jinping may be able to help Kim prepare.

Lowell Dittmer, a political scientist at University of California Berkeley, told Business Insider that from North Korea's prospective, China can give Kim crucial insight into the US administration.

"Kim Jong Un wants two things: to request a reduction of China's sanctions enforcement, and advice about how to handle Trump, especially if he gets tough," Dittner said.

And China knows well how to impress the Trump. The US president showered China and Xi with praise after the country quite literally rolled out the red carpet for Trump during a carefully-orchestrated and extravagant "state visit-plus" in November.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as he paid an unofficial visit to China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28,2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as he 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 ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan pose for a photo in Beijing, China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan meet in Beijing, China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan toast each other, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan meet, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan attend a banquet in Beijing, China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, as he paid an unofficial visit to China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
A man walks past a TV broadcasting a news report on a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, in Seoul, South Korea, March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A man walks past a TV broadcasting a news report on a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, in Seoul, South Korea, March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, in Seoul, South Korea, March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiles during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (unseen), as he paid an unofficial visit to China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as he paid an unofficial visit to China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
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Trump has been known to respond well to flattery and personal attention, which North Korea may use in its bilateral negotiations.

China is also potentially being previewed as a potential venue for the historic talks between the leaders, who have not been quiet about their distaste for one another. 

Although President Trump has scaled back on his insults against Kim in preparation for the historic talks, Trump has previously referred to Kim as a "little rocket man" and has considered preemptive strikes against the country. 

Besides tough talk, Kim is likely concerned about Trump's style as a negotiator, which has been criticized as "amateur" in the past. Trump has also had some awkward and tense encounters with global leaders in the past, which may explain why Kim could have turned to China for advice on how to handle the US leader.

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SEE ALSO: Kim Jong Un reportedly made a flashy entrance in Beijing — and likely told China to keep it quiet

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