NK summit plans set; United States troop drawdown not on table

Kim Jong-un speaks out in favor of denuclearizing Korean Peninsula at talks with Xi

Kim Jong Un visits China, meets Xi

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that the dictator had travelled to northern China to hold talks with president Xi Jinping.

Until now, the only American released by North Korea during Trump's presidency was Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old university student who returned to the United States in a coma last summer after 17 months of captivity and died days later.

He said the relevant sides would take phased and synchronous measures in a responsible manner so as to comprehensively advance the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue and eventually achieve denuclearisation and lasting peace on the peninsula, the report said.

Top-level officials from both North Korea and China attended the summit, including Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong and Wang Huning, a member of China's powerful seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, according to Chinese state media.

Xinhua added that Kim met Xi to "strengthen strategic communication and cooperation".

Shortly after the meeting was made public, Trump tweeted that he would speak to his "friend" Xi about North Korea later on Tuesday.

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While three Asian neighbors have an intense interest in resolving the standoff over Kim's nuclear weapons program, their differing approaches make it hard to agree on anything substantive.

Xi-Kim meeting took place amid concern in Beijing that the North Korean leader is getting too close to U.S. sidelining China pointing to its declining importance in the Korean Peninsula peace process.

Observers say that Moon's statement is indicative of the views of many among the political left in South Korea, who downplay the North Korean regime's aggression, while at the same time treating the US alliance as an obstacle in the country's attempt to reconcile with the North.

"At this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un", Trump said.

Kim flew by private jet to meet with Xi in Dalian, where he was also greeted by other Chinese leaders.

Kim was accompanied to China by his sister, Kim Yo Jong, who has played a leading role in diplomatic overtures by the long-isolated country. That strongly suggests an urgent situation has arisen, and the two leaders needed to discuss it ahead of Kim's meeting with Trump.

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Xi held a welcome banquet for the North Korean leader and took a casual stroll with him along a beach, Chinese state media Xinhua reported.

"China supports North Korea's upholding of denuclearisation on the peninsula, and supports North Korea and the United States resolving the peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation", Xi said. The talks follow Kim's summit with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea late last month and an expected one with Trump, possibly next month.

It also followed Kim's dramatic train journey to Beijing in March, his fist known trip overseas since assuming power in 2011.

Li and Moon will be visiting Japan for the first time since their inaugurations. It was not clear if Kim would meet Pompeo on Wednesday. The venue for their summit has not been announced.

Pompeo told reporters aboard his plane that his first visit was to test the seriousness of North Korea's pledges to South Korea on easing tensions.

Albright herself visited North Korea in 2000 for a meeting with the current leader's father, Kim Jong Il, attempting to put an end to the elder Kim's nuclear aspirations.

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Intense secrecy typically surrounds high-level North Korean visits to China, and this week's trip was no different.

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