China’s Xi hails ‘irreplaceable friendship’ with North Korea ahead of visit to Pyongyang
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China’s Xi hails ‘irreplaceable friendship’ with North Korea ahead of visit to Pyongyang

In an opinion peace, published on Wednesday on the front page of North Korean official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, Xi said Beijing’s friendship with the North is “irreplaceable.” “We will actively contribute to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity by strengthening communication and coordination with North Korea and other relevant parties to make progress in talks and negotiations on the issues on the Korean Peninsula,” Xi said in the op-ed. Referring to the the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and North Korea, Xi said, “Over the past 70 years we have been unyieldingly advancing forward on the same boat, breaking through rain and wind.” “One can say this friendship is irreplaceable even with millions of fortune,” he wrote.  Kim has visited Beijing for four times, since the two began working to improve ties in the past two years, but Xi’s long-awaited visit will mark the first trip to the North by a Chinese president in 14 year. His visit to Pyongyang — on Thursday and Friday — comes one week before a summit of the Group of 20, known as G20, in Japan, where he is expected to meet US President Donald Trump. According to analysts, Xi’s visit to Pyongyang is aimed at sending a message to Washington. “Ahead of the G-20 summit, both Mr. Xi and Mr. Kim are looking to hold more cards,” said Ahn Yinhay, a professor of international relations at Korea University in South Korea’s capital, Seoul.  By the trip to Pyongyang, she said, “the Chinese will be indicating to the US and South Korea that they can act as a coordinator for the denuclearization talks and that they are able to lead Mr. Kim back to the negotiating table.” Washington-Pyongyang ties came to a halt following the failure of a second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam. Back in May, Pyongyang announced that the talks will never be resumed unless Washington “comes forward with a new method of calculation.”

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