Chinese President Xi to visit N. Korea this week: KCNA

Clay Curtis
June 19, 2019

He also took exception to reports questioning the timing of Xi's visit to North Korea and speculation linking the trip to Xi-Trump meeting, which China is yet to confirm.

The sudden announcement of Xi's visit to Pyongyang ahead of his much-speculated meeting with Trump at the G-20 summit in Osaka on June 28-29 led to speculation that he wants to flaunt Beijing's importance in any future deal between USA and North Korea over denuclearisation.

Xi is scheduled to pay a two-day visit to North Korea from Thursday at the invitation of its leader Kim Jong-un, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump held a summit last year in Singapore and one in Hanoi this year, but hopes among observers over imminent progress towards denuclearisation have since faded.

According to an informed source in Pyongyang, Beijing was keen to arrange a visit to North Korea ahead of any encounter between Xi and Trump at the G20 summit - with logistics finalised only last month.

KCNA reported in April that Mr Kim said he will give the U.S. "till the end of the year" to reach out with further proposals.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is soon set to make his debut visit to North Korea at a time when both countries are struggling to make progress in separate talks with the United States.

The visit coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and North Korea, CCTV said.

The Chinese leader will meet North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un to discuss the problems facing the Korean Peninsula.

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But talks between Washington and Beijing have also stalled, and a trade war persists between the world's two largest economies.

The city is also on the China-Russia border.

His visit this time is expected to help the early resumption of negotiations for the complete denuclearization of Korea and lasting peace on the peninsula, Ko said.

"China won't likely openly ignore and violate United Nations sanctions, but it could strengthen its backchannel assistance or humanitarian shipments" to the North, said Shin Beomchul of Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin toasts with Chinese President Xi Jinping prior in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Friday, June 14. After his Singapore summit with Kim past year, Trump accused Xi of influencing the North Korean leader against going for a deal.

According to diplomatic sources in the North Korean capital, after Kim's many trips to meet Xi, there were increasingly strong feelings in Pyongyang that the Chinese leader should reciprocate for reasons of saving face.

"They do keep score and it's like four to zero", he recently told AFP. The move was viewed as aimed at strengthening his leverage over Washington and persuading Moscow to loosen its implementation of the worldwide sanctions against North Korea.

Since then, Kim has accused Washington of acting in "bad faith" and given it until the end of the year to change its approach.

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