"Unlike the six party talks, where working-level officials agreed upon the final outcome, it was the presidents of [South Korea] and the United States and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the DPRK who signed these documents" this time around, Mr. Lim said.
Security was tight at the Beijing airport where paramilitary police prevented journalists from shooting photos. The vehicles did not appear to be carrying flags.
Roads near the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where senior Chinese officials meet with visiting leaders, were closed and the same motorcade was later seen heading into the compound. When Kim made his first trip overseas later in March, he travelled in secret via armoured train and it wasn't announced until he was safely home.
The trip is Kim's third to China since March, when he made his inaugural foreign trip as leader.
Kim's visit beginning on Tuesday is the third trip he made to China in three months, and comes exactly a week after his historic meeting with the USA leader in Singapore on June 12. In fact, China may be the main player in the game as it shares a border with North Korea and is eager to see sanctions, which it has pledged to accept, lifted.
The hostility reached fresh heights a year ago amid public threats from Pyongyang that war with Washington may be imminent and American intelligence community concerns that Pyongyang had developed a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile capable of reaching the US homeland.
North Korea keeps much of its its armory of missiles, mostly variants of the Soviet scud and some capable of bearing nuclear warheads, trained on South Korean cities, notably the capital Seoul which is only 35 miles from North Korea.
Now that Beijing's primary concerns regarding North Korea have all but dissipated, it can use economic carrots to make sure Pyongyang does not endanger China's core interests, including national security, territorial integrity, and ensuring stable social and economic growth. "He got an equally broad security commitment from the United States, very vague", said Rice, who served in the Obama administration.
But the Trump administration has declined to provide any figures that back that assessment, and it's likely the US military could carry out other training outside South Korea instead.
"At this point, as long as the North Koreans continue to act in good faith as we saw in Singapore, then we expect those things to be on pause", she said at a press briefing.
Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor at Renmin University's School of International Studies in Beijing, said the frequency of Kim's visits was "unprecedented".
"Today, that the two countries' highest leaders can sit together and have equal talks, has important and positive meaning, and is creating a new history", foreign minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing. The tariffs were quickly matched by China on US exports, a move that drew the president's ire.
A trade war with the US could make it less attractive for China to use its influence over North Korea to help the USA achieve its objectives of denuclearization.
The Pentagon said Monday that it was no longer planning for annual war games slated for August.
"The South and the USA plan to continue consultations over additional measures", it added.