Chinese President Xi Jinping came Thursday morning for a two-day state visit to North Korea, where he’s expected to speak with leader Kim Jong Un about the stalled negotiations with Washington over North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
China’s official Xinhua news agency reported that Xi was accompanied by his wife, Peng Liyuan, and numerous Communist Party officials. He is the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in fourteen years.
The summit comes as the two Xi and Kim are locked in separate disputes with the United States — Xi over trade and Kim over his nuclear weapons.
Experts say Xi will likely endorse North Korea’s requires an incremental disarmament process.
Chinese and North Korea media have said Xi would remain in Pyongyang for 2 days. His meeting with Kim would their fifth summit since Kim entered nuclear diplomacy with the United States and South Korea early last year.
In an essay published in both countries’ official media before his visit, Xi praised North Korea for moving in the “right direction” by politically resolving problems on the peninsula. He did not point out Kim’s nuclear diplomacy with the US in the article, much of which highlighted lauding the neighbors’ seven-decade relationship. Xi said his trip will “strengthen strategic communication and exchange” between the traditional, though sometimes strained, allies.
The nations battled together in the 1950-53 Korean War against the United States, South Korea and their allies, but there has been friction nowadays, especially over the North’s relentless push for nuclear weapons.