North Korea’s Kim visits China

A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) during a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Jun 19, 2018. EPA-EFE

SEOUL.- The North Korean leader was in China for talks with the Chinese president, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday.

Kim Jong-un traveled with his wife, Ri Sol-ju, to China for talks with Xi Jinping at Beijing’s invitation, Yonhap reported citing North Korean state media.

Kim’s visit, which is expected to last until Thursday, was confirmed hours after rumors began circulating about a possible trip, after a train was seen crossing the border into China carrying an unnamed senior Pyongyang official.

The trip, which was also confirmed by the Chinese news agency Xinhua, is the Korean leader’s fourth visit to China in the last year and comes amid reported preparations for a second meeting between Kim and US president Donald Trump to continue stalled denuclearization talks.

The first meeting that Kim held with Xi Jinping in Beijing took place exactly one year before Tuesday’s meet. Last year’s encounter preceded North Korea’s participation in the Winter Games held in South Korea, an event that heralded the start of improving ties between Pyongyang and the international community.

The other two meetings with Xi, in Dalian and Beijing in May and June respectively, followed the summits that Kim held with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, and with Trump in Singapore.

Since that summit with the US president, in which the US and North Korea agreed to work towards the denuclearization of the North Korean regime in exchange for Washington guaranteeing its security, the dialogue has not progressed much due to the lack of a clear road map for the disarmament process.

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