China’s Xi arrives in North Korea to meet with Kim
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China’s Xi arrives in North Korea to meet with Kim

Xi’s plane landed in Pyongyang on Thursday morning, kicking off a historic visit that marks the first time a Chinese leader has traveled to North Korea in 14 years. The Chinese president was accompanied by a delegation of senior officials and key aides, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi and top diplomat Yang Jiechi as well as economic adviser He Lifeng. During the two-day visit, Xi and Kim will reportedly discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear program, the boosting of economic cooperation, and the improving of bilateral relations. The two leaders have met four times, in China, over the past years. Pyongyang has hailed the visit as a sign of friendship between the two neighbors and old allies. In an opinion piece published Wednesday in North Korea’s state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun, Xi wrote that he hoped to use the visit to “engrave a new chapter of the traditional friendship” between the two countries. Noting that 2019 marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations between China and North Korea, the Chinese leader said Beijing was ready to join hands with Pyongyang to work together for the realization of lasting peace and stability in the region. “We are pleased to see that with Chairman Kim’s correct decision and the concerted efforts of all parties concerned, the general trend of peaceful dialog on the Korean Peninsula has taken shape, and a political settlement to the Peninsula issue sees a rare historical opportunity, which has been universally recognized and anticipated by the international community,” Xi said. China will “actively contribute to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity by strengthening communication and coordination with the DPRK and relevant parties to jointly push for progress in talks and negotiations on the issue,” he added, using an acronym for the North’s official name. Xi’s visit to Pyongyang 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. Trump has himself twice met with Kim. Their second meeting effectively collapsed, and talks at lower levels have since stalled as well. Washington has imposed rounds of unilateral sanctions and spearheaded multilateral ones against Pyongyang since 2006 over its nuclear and missile programs.

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