Chinese President Xi to Visit North Korea Thursday

BEIJING (AP/Reuters) -
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing, China, in 2018. (KCNA/via Reuters)

Chinese President Xi Jinping will go to North Korea on Thursday for two days, state media in both countries reported on Monday, making him the first Chinese leader to visit the reclusive country in 14 years.

Neighboring China is North Korea‘s lone major ally and the visit comes amid a protracted dispute over the North’s denuclearization with the United States.

“Both sides will exchange views on the [Korean] peninsula situation, and push for new progress in the political resolution of the peninsula issue,” China’s official CCTV broadcaster said in a lengthy report that led the evening broadcast.

Kim has visited China four times since March 2018, CCTV reported, adding that this marked the 70th year since China and North Korea established diplomatic ties.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump held a summit last year in Singapore and one in Hanoi this year, but hopes among observers over imminent progress towards denuclearization have since faded.

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