Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit North Korea for two days from Thursday, state media in both countries reported on Monday, making him the first Chinese leader to visit in 14 years.
Kim has visited China four times, but no Chinese president has visited Pyongyang since Hu Jintao was hosted by Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, in 2005. This year also marks the 70th year since China and North Korea established diplomatic ties.
“Both sides will exchange views on the (Korean) peninsula situation, and push for new progress in the political resolution of the peninsula issue,” China’s official broadcaster CCTV said in a lengthy report that led the evening news.
As reported by the state media, the invitation was made by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Washington has demanded that North Korea make verifiable progress toward giving up its nuclear weapons before any sanctions are lifted, while the North says the US has failed to reward it for the steps it has already taken.
The office of the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, said it hoped Xi’s visit would end the nuclear standoff. “We hope that this visit will contribute to the early resumption of negotiations for the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula which will lead to the settlement of lasting peace on the Korean peninsula,” it said.
The US and China are currently locked in an escalating trade war, with both countries announcing new tariffs on each other’s goods.