China's Xi arrives in North Korea for talks with Kim Jong

Clay Curtis
June 20, 2019

Referring to the North Korean leader as "Comrade Kim Jong Un", Xi wrote: "I wish to use this visit to facilitate a China-North Korea cooperation relationship and open a new chapter based on the traditional China-North Korea friendship".

Xi's North Korea visit will be the first by a Chinese leader since Hu Jintao, Xi's predecessor, met with Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang in 2005.

"On both sides of the streets were huge crowds of people, a magnificent and unprecedented event", it said.

In an editorial, it said the trip at a time of "complex worldwide relations" showed that the leadership in Beijing attached "high importance on the DPRK-China friendship".

It added that the visit came "in the face of crucial and grave tasks due to complex worldwide relations".

Mr Xi's trip highlights two-way ties that "never waver despite any headwinds", it said.

In another interview with Japanese news outlet Mainichi Shimbun, Thae said the North Korean leader would deliver a new negotiation proposal to the United States via China.

The Chinese leader is expected to hold summits with Kim and pay tribute at the Friendship Tower, which commemorates Chinese troops who fought together with North Koreans during the 1950-53 Korean War. The conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, leaving the North technically still at war with South Korea.

January 8, 2019: Kim visits Beijing for his fourth summit with Xi, vows to "achieve results" on the nuclear standoff in his second meeting with Trump.

South Korea said Wednesday it will send 50,000 tonnes of rice to North Korea via the World Food Programme to help the country cope with a severe food shortage.

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There have been no high-level talks between the USA and North Korea since the failed summit in February and North Korea appears to have lost patience - testing a new weapon in April and saying it no longer wants to deal with U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo .

Kim invited Xi to Pyongyang in March 2018, after the North Korean leader's first trip to Beijing.

He also vowed that Beijing would play an active role in "strengthening communication and coordination with North Korea and other relevant parties" to push forward negotiations on the Korean Peninsula. "China wants a breakthrough".

This year, North Korea has already imported more than the limit and is "on pace" to obtain about the same amount as last year through illegal ship-to-ship transfers, the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

With talks between the U.S. and North Korea going nowhere fast, the reclusive regime's Asian neighbors are stepping up efforts to improve relations and encourage Kin Jong-un to shelve his nuclear weapons.

China, engaged in a bitter trade war with the United States, has also defended its "normal" trade and business ties with North Korea, though Beijing's data show its imports from North Korea plunged by 88 per cent past year and exports to the country dropped by 33 per cent.

June 17, 2019: North Korea and China announce Xi will visit North Korea on Thursday and Friday.

Xi and Kim have been working to fix ties, with the young North Korean leader visiting his older comrade four times in China in the past year and Beijing calling for sanctions to be relaxed.

The United States and 25 other countries accused North Korea of violating UN sanctions by importing far more than the annual limit of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products.

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