Xi Jinping 'highly likely' to visit North Korea in April – The Straits Times

SEOUL – Chinese President Xi Jinping is highly likely to visit North Korea in April, followed by a visit to South Korea in May, the Korean Herald reported, citing South Korea’s ruling party leader.

“It seems like Chinese President Xi Jinping is slated to visit North Korea in April, and there is a high possibility that he will visit South Korea in May,” Democratic Party leader Lee Hae-chan was quoted as saying on Friday (Jan 11) during a meeting with new presidential chief of staff Noh Young-min upon his courtesy call on the National Assembly.

“A summit between China and North Korea, followed by a second US-North Korea summit and inter-Korean summit will foster peace in North-east Asia,” Lee said.

Lee added the leaders of the countries appear likely to meet frequently in the first half of the year. He also said the path for inter-Korea economic exchanges and cooperation is now visible, which could revitalise the economy.

Xi had met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Beijing this week, which was their fourth summit meeting, during the latter’s four-day visit to the Chinese capital.

China is considered the best buffer North Korea has against US pressure and sanctions as Kim prepares for a second meeting with Trump.

He also consulted with Xi before and after his first meeting with Trump, which took place in Singapore in June. The June meeting produced a vaguely worded agreement to “work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” and “new” relations between North Korea and the United States, which have been adversaries for seven decades.

But talks have since stalled over how to implement the Singapore deal.

Washington wants North Korea to start dismantling its nuclear facilities and weapons, while the North has demanded that the United States first build trust with corresponding measures, starting with the easing of sanctions.

When Xi met Kim on Tuesday, the Chinese leader urged North Korea and the United States to meet each other “in the middle”, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

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