N. Korea leader seeks ‘active response’ in talks

Xi Jinping leaves for Pyongyang, marking first visit by Chinese leader to North Korea in 14 years

And the State visit of President Xi Jinping to Pyongyang could be viewed as a classic example.

"Xi's visit will send a message that the strong relations between China and North Korea are critical to tackle the nuclear issue and to maintaining the peace on the peninsula, which the US should not ignore", said Wang Sheng, a professor of global politics at Jilin University in China.

"I urge North Korea to respond to President Moon's outstanding invitation to hold an inter-Korea summit, if possible, before President Trump visits Korea next week", Lee said.

Chinese state media say Chinese President Xi Jinping told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the global community expects the US and North Korea to restart a productive dialogue.

To support his position, Jeong cited a recent op-ed piece written by Xi and published Wednesday in North Korea's official newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, interpreting Xi's words as a call for a peace treaty.

It was the stand-off over these issues that stalled talks between the U.S. and North Korea earlier this year: neither side would budge until the other did.

It is widely seen as a sign that China is trying to use its clout over North Korea as a diplomatic card in its intensifying rivalry with Washington ahead of his meetings with Trump during next week's Group of 20 meeting of global leaders in Japan.

But the Chinese leader waited to reciprocate the visit, biding his time to see how nuclear talks between Kim and Trump would play out before deciding to travel to Pyongyang, according to analysts. It provided no further details.

Xi, who will be given the honour of a state visit, will pay homage at the capital's Friendship Tower.

Hopes for the resumption of the nuclear talks have risen after the North's leader recently sent Trump a goodwill letter last week in time for the first anniversary of their first-ever summit in Singapore, and the US president described the letter as "beautiful" and "very warm".

Xi and Kim might discuss ways to convince Trump to drop his demands that North Korea first dismantle its nuclear arsenal before it can receive sanctions relief.

But as he embarked on a flurry of diplomacy a year ago, Kim ensured that Xi - the leader of his country's key diplomatic supporter and the main provider of trade and aid - was the first head of state he met.

The Korean peninsula and North Korea's denuclearisation progress are expected to figure large during Mr Xi's state visit, Chinese experts have said.

The crowd stood in tight formations, waving flowers and chanting slogans to welcome Xi.

North Korean media had yet to report on Mr Xi's arrival.

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A banner at the airport welcome ceremony read, "Long Live with Unbreakable Friendship and Unity Formed by Blood", Xinhua said.

China and North Korea have worked to improve relations in the past year from a low point as Beijing backed a series of United Nations sanctions against its Cold War-era ally over its nuclear activities.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang has dismissed concerns that Beijing's close ties with Pyongyang could be used to put pressure on the U.S., saying "people with such an idea are just over-thinking".

Thae Yong Ho, a former North Korean ambassador to the United Kingdom who defected, told the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper on Thursday that the summit signaled that Kim saw China rather than South Korea as his preferred mediating partner.

Thae Yong Ho defected to South Korea while serving in Britain in 2016.

Past visits to North Korea by Beijing's leaders have been followed by massive Chinese economic assistance, usually tonnes of food aid.

Thae says Kim may propose some compromise on his nuclear facilities to achieve a third summit but such a move would be only to buy time and not to denuclearize.

Trump's Hanoi summit with Kim fizzled after the two sides failed to reconcile USA demands for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and North Korean demands for a lifting of punishing US -led worldwide sanctions.

But Chinese state news agency Xinhua in a commentary published Thursday said that "hope remains alive and kicking" on resolving the nuclear standoff.

Kim has visited Xi in China four times since previous year, and China has praised North Korea and the United States for trying to resolve their issues through dialogue rather than threats of force or military posturing.

"Comrade Xi Jinping is visiting.in the face of crucial and grave tasks due to complex worldwide relations, which clearly shows the Chinese party and the government place high significance on the friendship", the North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

It will be the first trip to Pyongyang by a Chinese president since Hu Jintao went in 2005.

Last year, Kim turned to diplomacy, including his first meeting with Trump in Singapore.

Xi said "we need to strengthen strategic communication and promote exchanges and mutual learning, to endow our traditional friendship with new connotation".

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