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North Korean leader in China to meet with Xi

North Korean leader in China to meet with Xi

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

Last year Kim travelled to China three times to meet with Xi, before and after Kim held other summits with United States president Trump and South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in had pledged to sign a peace treaty by the end of 2018, but negotiations between North Korea and the United States have since faltered.

Kim's visit to China, confirmed by North Korean and Chinese state media, comes amid plans for a second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump aimed at denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

When asked whether there can be contacts between the USA and North Korean officials in Beijing, he noted that "these two delegations are not quite of the same level".

"With North Korea, we have a very good dialogue", he told reporters before boarding a helicopter for the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, where he said he would be discussing a trade deal with China.

They discussed planning a second summit between Trump and Kim, the paper reported, fuelling speculation that Vietnam could host the event.

"If you come to South Korea, the day when our suffering colleagues and North Korean citizens are liberated from the fetters would be moved forward", Thae said. After resettling in South Korea in 1997, Hwang became a vocal critic of the North Korean leadership he had a hand in building, which led to threats and attempts on his life Seoul blamed on Pyongyang.

A separate geopolitical issue angered China on Monday when a US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea a vast expanse claimed by Beijing.

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Christopher Hill, a former USA ambassador to South Korea, said Kim's visit to China may be Beijing's way of ensuring it remains a player in any future developments with Washington.

Another reason why North Korea may not celebrate Kim's birthday is because of his unpopularity within the country because of sanctions.

China and Russian Federation have a contentious relationship with the United States, while Japan has a contentious relationship, and no diplomatic relations, with North Korea, indicating those three nations are out of the running.

North Korean leader Kim said in his New Year's speech that the communist country will actively promote "multi-party negotiations" to replace the current cease-fire on the Korean Peninsula and that it will find a "new way" to defend its interests. Kim is also expected to meet Moon again soon, possibly in Seoul.

The US president said last week he had received a "great letter" from the North Korean leader but declined to reveal its contents.

The two met last June, the first such meeting for a sitting United States president.

In his New Year's address on January 1, Kim also emphasized the importance of promoting multilateral talks on creating a "peace mechanism" in the region instead of an armistice agreement that halted the Korean War, in apparent consideration of China.

"Their behavior has demonstrated that as well and we appreciate that".