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China’s President Xi Jinping to visit N. Korea this week - state media

China’s President Xi Jinping to visit N. Korea this week - state media”

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit North Korea for a two-day visit starting this Thursday, according to Chinese state media reports.

Diplomats had long expected Xi to visit Pyongyang; one Western diplomat in Beijing said it was likely that the Chinese leader had a standing invitation, and had chosen to take it up with the G20 summit approaching: "It's Xi showing Trump that China still has an important card to play - North Korea".

China's apparent willingness to vie for influence on the Korean Peninsula comes after Trump and Kim reached an impasse on negotiations despite summits in Singapore and Vietnam.

The last Chinese leader to visit North Korea was Hu Jintao, in 2005.

Still, Zhao noted that playing the North Korea card in trade talks with the USA and threatening to undermine the nuclear negotiations would not be in China's interests.

At the same time, China has expressed wariness about North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons and has voted alongside the U.S.in enforcing global sanctions against the secretive, militarized state. That was part of a warming trend in China-South Korea relations, while China-North Korea relations at the time seemed to be on ice. Just $5 a month. The former Park administration's decision to host the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system caused a massive backlash from Beijing, complete with unofficial economic coercion.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited China several times this year. One of the biggest questions hanging over the G20 summit is whether Xi will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines to discuss the ongoing trade war.

The visits were meant to help relations between the two countries after Beijing backed a series of United Nations sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear activities.

A North Korea analyst in Beijing named Zhang Liangui gave the South China Morning Post a somewhat less optimistic forecast for Xi's trip to North Korea, suggesting it will be more focused on coordinating China and North Korea's hostile response to US trade policy. Since then, formal dialogue between the United States and North Korea has been on ice, as North Korea officials ominously warn that Washington needs to change its stance by the end of the year. "China relationship, Beijing may want to remind Washington that it is not in the US interests to drive its relationship with China further in the direction of a new Cold War", Zhao added.

"It's possible that Xi could facilitate the delivery of a message from Kim to Abe - if, for example, Kim had some interest in meeting with Abe under certain conditions - but I'm not confident that Kim wants to move on this front", Schoff said.



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