North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wrapped up his four-day visit to China on Wednesday after holding talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and touring an economic zone, while the United States maintains its silence over the two leaders' meeting. It comes after USA and North Korean officials are thought to have met in Vietnam to discuss the site of a second summit.
Yonhap said Kim met with President Xi Jinping for about an hour on Tuesday and later attended a dinner at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing hosted by Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan.
Kim's fourth visit to China comes ahead of a much-anticipated summit with United States president Trump later this year.
At a landmark summit in Singapore past year, Kim and Trump signed a vaguely-worded pledge on denuclearisation, but progress has since stalled with both sides arguing over their agreement's interpretation. Negotiations have made little headway since.
Trump earlier said that the United States and North Korea are in talks over where to hold their second summit and a decision on the venue will be announced in the "not-too-distant future".
"In fact, during his New Year's Day speech, Kim's "new way" that he referred to may well have been a veiled threat to move closer to Beijing". The North said in its report that Xi accepted an invitation to visit North Korea, although details of when he might come were not given.
Kim's visit to North Korea's most important economic and diplomatic ally follows reports of advanced negotiations for a second summit between Washington and Pyongyang aimed at resolving the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. But he warned that he may seek an alternative path if U.S. sanctions and pressure against the country continued. Jim Jatras also claimed that what President Trump and what his administration want are not "necessarily the same thing".
The visit coincides with negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials in Beijing to resolve a bruising trade war between the world's two biggest economies.
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It said the Chinese leader had issued a ringing endorsement of the North's position.
"Their behavior has demonstrated that as well and we appreciate that". The GOP Senate foreign policy advisor told RT America: "If anybody thinks those Americans are there to defend South Korea from North Korea, they're drinking something I would like to get a bottle of".
President Xi Jinping has welcomed Kim Jong-un's commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
He also said China would be ready to play a "positive and constructive role" towards maintaining peace and achieving denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula, reported Xinhua.
His trip to Beijing has been shrouded in secrecy.
He also credited President Xi Jinping with helping reduce regional tensions, saying "the Korean Peninsula situation has been easing since a year ago, and China's important role in this process is obvious to all".
Relations between China and North Korea had deteriorated in recent years over Pyongyang's nuclear activities, but ties appear to have warmed, with Kim meeting Xi 3 times last year to pay his respects and keep him informed about developments.