Though North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged his country’s commitment to denuclearization in a secret meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, it is unlikely that his sentiments are sincere.

According to Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, North Korea will “almost certainly,” ultimately refuse to give up its nuclear weapons.

Kim secretly visited China in what was deemed an “unofficial visit” from March 25 to March 28. The meeting took place weeks ahead of a planned summit between North and South Korea and the looming possibility of a sit-down between Kim and US President Donald J. Trump.

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Overnight, China ended the mystery and intrigue of its secret visitor: Yes, it was North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, making his first foreign trip to Beijing. While there, Kim pledged a commitment to North Korean denuclearization.

Kim said: “It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization in accordance with the will of late [North Korean] President Kim Il Sung and late [North Korean] General Secretary Kim Jong Il.”

However, the confirmation of Kim’s first foreign trip since assuming control three years ago only opened the door to the next mystery. Amidst a flurry of activity in the region focused on North Korea’s nuclear activity, what did Kim’s visit to China mean and what will happen next?

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is likely trying to drive a wedge between the United States and South Korea with his uncharacteristic offer of an olive branch to Seoul, according to the Atlantic Council’s Robert A. Manning.

On January 3, North Korea reopened a border hotline with South Korea after two years of silence. That followed a proposal from Kim in his New Year’s Day speech to ease tensions with South Korea. Kim also suggested that North Korean athletes may participate in the Winter Olympics in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang in February.

Kim’s outreach may be a sign that tough international sanctions are beginning to hurt North Korea, said Manning, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. This, he surmised, may have led Kim to seek to “divide and conquer” the US-South Korean alliance.

“It is a time-honored tactic, particularly when there is a leftist government in Seoul—as you have now,” he added.

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While it does not confirm any specifics regarding Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities, North Korea’s latest test of an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) indicates it may be able to strike the continental United States.

According to the Pentagon’s initial assessment, the missile travelled approximately 1,000 kilometers before landing in the Sea of Japan. It flew higher and for a longer duration than two previous ICBM launches.

“North Korea's missile launch is yet another step forward in the country's march toward fully deliverable nuclear weapons capable of hitting the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and any other potential targets,” said Jamie Metzl, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

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The decision by US President Donald J. Trump’s administration to designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, while of questionable efficacy, marks a justified increase of pressure from Washington on Pyongyang, according to Atlantic Council analysts.

In the latest move in an ongoing diplomatic crisis between the United States and North Korea over the latter’s growing nuclear arsenal, North Korea was placed back on the US Department of State’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list on November 20. North Korea joins Iran, Sudan, and Syria on the list.

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North Korea’s successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that has the ability to strike Alaska could embolden Pyongyang to be more aggressive in the future, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

“With this nuclear ICBM ‘shield,’ the DPRK [North Korea] likely will be much more aggressive in every other area of its foreign and military policies. We are entering a new and very dangerous era,” said Barry Pavel, a senior vice president, Arnold Kanter Chair, and director of the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

On July 4, six months after Trump had tweeted that a North Korean test of an ICBM capable of reaching the United States “won’t happen,” North Korea said it had tested such a missile that could hit Alaska.

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