Kim Jong Un concludes China visit ahead of possible 2nd Trump summit

Kim Jong Un concludes China visit ahead of possible 2nd Trump summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in Beijing for a surprise visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency says Kim spent his final day in Beijing visiting a pharmaceutical factory in an economic zone outside of Beijing, then had lunch with President Xi before departing.

Kim reportedly met Chinese President Xi Jinping during his trip, which may have been a precursor to a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The US is refraining from negative comments on Kim's trip because China has been tough on the enforcement of United Nations sanctions against North Korea and trade talks with Beijing are going smoothly, said Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

Mr Kim arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a fourth visit to his country's sole major diplomatic friend, a trip seen as a strategy session ahead of his possible second meeting with Mr Trump on Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

Kim's visit comes as a U.S. delegation opened a second day of talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing aimed at ending the trade war between the world's two largest economies. Beyond confirming his presence in Beijing, there has been no detail provided from either the North Korean or Chinese side on his schedule.

Kim was invited to Beijing by Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit China amid negotiations for a second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump.

Among those in Kim's entourage were Kim Yong-chol, a key nuclear negotiator with the USA, and North Korea's foreign and defense ministers, Yonhap noted.

Tuesday was Kim's birthday.

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Yonhap said Kim met with Xi for about an hour Tuesday and later attended a dinner at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing hosted by Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan. His delegation was seen off by high-ranking Chinese officials and honour guard at a Beijing train station and could return to North Korea as soon as Thursday morning, Yonhap said.

In his New Year speech, Kim focussed on his country's economy, saying that improving people's lives was his top priority and tackling energy shortages was an urgent task. "China and the DPRK are friendly and close neighbours and it is also an important tradition for us to maintain friendly exchanges", Lu said, referring to North Korea's formal name.

-China Relations, joined CBSN to discuss.

"Kim needs the support of Xi so as to ask the USA to make substantial steps, such as providing assistance to North Korea and normalising relations with North Korea", he said.

Trump and Kim reached an agreement to work toward the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", during their first meeting in June in Singapore.

The visit coincided with negotiations between USA and Chinese officials in Beijing to resolve a bruising trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

But Hua said Kim's visit would have a "limited" effect on the trade negotiations.

During his annual New Year's Day address last week, Kim said it was his "firm will" that North Korea will no longer produce or test nuclear weapons.

Still, China has denied any interest in using North Korea as a bargaining chip and doing so risked undermining a source of stability in its strained relations with the U.S.

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