Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Wednesday the meeting with Kim was held as China remains steadfast in its commitment to comply with United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions against North Korea, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.
"There should be no room for doubt about China's willingness to carry out our international duties as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council," Lu said, when asked whether policy will change following Kim's visit to Beijing.
Lu also said China has "held in high regard" its friendship and cooperation with the North, and that the solution to realizing the "principle of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula" is through dialogue and negotiations.
"Following this principle, China has played an active and constructive role," the spokesman said, adding Xi held the summit to "defend" and strengthen friendly bilateral relations, and that the position is the "unchanged" policy of the Chinese Communist Party.
The foreign ministry added Xi has accepted an invitation from Kim to visit Pyongyang because the Chinese president wants to "maintain exchanges with Chairman Kim with mutual visits, mutual envoys and mutual correspondence."
Kim's visit to Beijing may be coming at a time when both sides need each other, according to veteran journalist Donald Kirk.
In an article in the South China Morning Post on Wednesday, Kirk said China could be strengthening its position as it confronts the possibility of a trade war with the United States.
"Could it be coincidental that a special North Korean train -- not seen in Beijing since Kim Jong Un's late father Kim Jong Il bowed before China's leaders in several visits to the Chinese capital -- arrived in Beijing so soon after Trump announced his tariffs?" Kirk writes.
The White House said China notified the United States of the Kim visit ahead of the disclosure Wednesday morning, and U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that Kim was "looking forward" to meeting with him.
Received message last night from XI JINPING of China that his meeting with KIM JONG UN went very well and that KIM looks forward to his meeting with me. In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018