North Korea's Kim Jong-un visits China's Xi Jinping

Trump touts 'good relationship' with N. Korea

Trump touts 'good relationship' with N. Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived on an unannounced visit to Beijing on Tuesday for talks with President Xi Jinping, as preparations ramp up for an expected second summit with US President Donald Trump.

Kim traveled to China - his most important security and trade partner - before meetings a year ago with Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, today quoted an unnamed expert saying that Mr Kim's "visit to China at the beginning of 2019 indicates Kim's trust in China".

Meanwhile, Thae Yong-ho, the former deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom who fled to South Korea in 2016, wrote in an open letter to Jo on his blog, "My wife and children remember the guided tour you took us on. when we visited Italy in January of 2008".

Kim Jong Un as expressed frustration with the U.S. after his meetings with president Donald Trump.

Mr Kim, unusually, did not meet Mr Xi for the first six years of his leadership of North Korea.

The trip began under the usual veil of secrecy and Kim has not been spotted in public since a motorcade believed to be carrying the North Korean entourage left a Beijing train station under heavy security early on Tuesday.

The North Korean leader, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol Ju and several senior officials, set off from Pyongyang on his private train on Monday, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

Lu said China believes contact between the USA and North Korea is important.

Since the Singapore summit, there is growing scepticism in the USA over Kim delivering on his promise to do away with the nuclear programme despite Washington's assurance over North Korea's security.

The U.S. and North Korea seemed close to war at points during 2017 as the North staged a series of increasingly powerful weapons tests that brought it closer to its nuclear goal of one day being able to target anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

His visit to Beijing, which is stated to be closest ally of Pyongyang, comes at a time when China itself is locked in a trade war with the USA over Trump's demand to reduce the United States dollars 375 billion trade deficit with the US.

The four-day visit could be a chance for the two leaders to coordinate ahead of a second summit between Kim and President Trump, NPR's global correspondent Anthony Kuhn reports.

"But Kim Jong Un's visit to Beijing could indirectly show President Trump that although China has maybe less economic cards, China still has some strategic and diplomatic cards", Shi said.

Each of Kim's previous visits occurred before or after holding summits with Trump or South Korean President Moon Jae In.

Diplomatic progress between Mr Trump and Mr Kim has stalled since the Singapore summit. The year of his birth has always remained a mystery, as North Korea has never revealed it.

These include more Chinese purchases of United States goods and services to reduce a yawning trade gap, increased access to China's markets, stronger protection of intellectual property and a reduction in Beijing's subsidies.

He said he hopes a follow-up summit meeting will "produce an outcome welcomed by the global community".

Ruediger Frank, a professor of East Asian economy and society at the University of Vienna, suggested in a commentary for the respected 38 North website that it was the most important passage in the entire speech, reflecting an "almost exuberant" confidence in the growing and reliable support of China.

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