North Korea: Kim Jong-un met Xi in China ahead of nuclear talks

The meeting comes shortly after Kim’s first two trips abroad since he became leader of North Korea in 2011 [Ju Peng/The Associated Press]

Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping have held a meeting in China ahead of a summit between North Korea and the United States.

The secret meeting was held in the northern Chinese city of Dalian on Tuesday and not made public until after Kim had left the country.

The gathering was confirmed by Chinese officials, according to Xinhua press agency, which said the meeting was also attended by Wang Huning, a high-ranking official in the Chinese Communist Party. 

Speculation about Kim’s visit to China started when security in Dalian, located close to the Chinese-North Korean border, was increased and Kim’s private jet was spotted at the airport of Dalian.

The reports by Chinese officials did not specify what was talked about, except for an “exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and major issues of common concern”. 

The meeting between Kim and Xi came shortly after Kim’s first two trips abroad since he became leader of North Korea in 2011.

In March, he visited the Chinese capital of Beijing, and last month, he crossed the DMZ between North and South Korea for a historic meeting between him and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

The latest encounter in China comes ahead of a scheduled meeting between North Korea and the United States.

Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump will talk about possible denuclearisation by North Korea.

Trump said last week the time and place for his much-anticipated meeting with the North Korean leader has been decided, and will shortly be made public.

The US president suggested that the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea would be an excellent venue for the planned summit, but that Singapore was also a possible site.

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Trump has already said that he was not considering reducing the US military’s presence in South Korea as part of the negotiations.

The meeting between Kim and Trump would be a first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, offering a potential breakthrough in relations between the two adversaries.

Trump said on Twitter that he will be speaking to Xi about later on Tuesday, adding that North Korea would be one of the topics they would talk about.