North Korean leader Kim visits China for summit with Xi
Kim Jong-un delivers a televised new year speech in North Korea.Credit:AP
The summit with Xi comes as Kim and US President Donald Trump are negotiating over the location for a second summit meeting, and on Kim's 35th birthday on Tuesday.
Earlier, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that a North Korean train "possibly carrying a senior official" had crossed the border into China, passing through the Chinese border city of Dandong about 10:15pm, Beijing time, on Monday.
Dozens of security vehicles and officials blocked the roads around the train station in Dandong before the train passed, Yonhap reported. The roads were reopened afterward.
If Kim is in China, it would be the fourth time he has travelled there to meet Xi in the past year, with each of his previous visits occurring before or after holding summits with Trump or South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Kim is also expected to meet Moon again soon, possibly in Seoul.
On Sunday, Trump told reporters negotiations were under way over a location for a second summit with Kim. And earlier in the week Trump said he had received a "great letter" from Kim.
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.Credit:AP
South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Monday that State Department officials recently met multiple times with North Korean counterparts in Hanoi to plan the summit, fueling speculation that Vietnam could host the event.
"We are negotiating a location," Trump told reporters at the White House on Sunday.
"It will be announced probably in the not-too-distant future," he said, according to the BBC. "They do want to meet and we want to meet and we'll see what happens."
Trump said the US had "a very good dialogue" with North Korea, adding that he had "indirectly spoken" with Kim.
On his trip to China, Kim was also accompanied by senior officials including Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers Party Kim Yong Chol and senior diplomat Ri Yong Ho, according to Korea Central Television. The visit was also confirmed by China Central Television.
Since emerging onto the world stage in the last year, Kim has mended previously strained ties with neighbour and key ally China, and made sure Xi has been kept in the loop.
In his annual keynote New Year’s Day speech, Kim also proposed "multi-party negotiations" should begin to turn the cease-fire agreement that brought an end to the 1950-53 Korean War with a "peace mechanism" in order to "lay a lasting and substantial peace-keeping foundation".
He also emphasised the significance of "strategic communication and co-operation" with socialist nations, highlighting his three visits to China during the past year.
In his speech, Kim said he would "sit down face to face" again with Trump at any time, adding he "will strive to produce an outcome welcomed by the international community."
But he also warned that if the US misjudged North Korea's patience, maintained sanctions and demanded his country denuclearise unilaterally, he might be forced to explore a new path.
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