China's Xi hopes U.S., N. Korea will 'meet halfway'

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In addition to his apparent interest in TCM, Kim is believed to have visited Beijing in order to talk over strategy with Xi regarding a second anticipated US-North Korea summit.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping had in-depth discussions on how to "jointly study and steer" the situation on the Korean peninsula and denuclearisation talks, North Korea's state media KCNA said on Thursday.

Mr Moon was talking after Kim travelled to Bijing to meet Chinese supremo Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, in Beijing, during which he was reported to have renewed his pledge to denuclearise.

Moon, a liberal who took office in 2017, has shuttled between North Korea and the United States to facilitate high-profile nuclear diplomacy including the Kim-Trump summit in Singapore last June.

Moon added that matters related to establishing peace and declaring the end of the Korean War can be considered as measures corresponding to Pyongyang's denuclearization steps, and that he hopes the differences in Pyongyang and Washington's views on the issues will be resolved through the second Trump-Kim meeting.

Lu on Tuesday clarified Beijing's role amid the North-U.S. denuclearization talks, saying China aims to play a "positive factor".

"But Hawaii is said to be an unrealistic location, as it doesn't have a North Korean embassy there", another official added.

China also wants the sanctions relaxed and Xi said it "hopes that the DPRK and the United States will meet each other halfway" according to China's state news agency Xinhua, using the initials of the North's official name.

At Tuesday's daily Foreign Ministry briefing, spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing remains supportive of efforts to end tensions over USA demands for a halt to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. Although Moon at the time said that the visit would be within the year, Kim's visit did not materialize, for which the North Korean leader expressed regret in a letter to Moon.

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For Xi, whose country provides a lifeline to North Korea's anemic economy, the meeting with Kim reminds Trump that China's co-operation will make any nuclear deal more effective.

The report came as Kim returned to Pyongyang after a trip to China, where he held talks with Xi and visited an economic development area in Beijing.

Kim Jong-un visits a Tong Ren Tang pharmaceutical plant in Yizhuang, Beijing on Wednesday.

The North's Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim told Xi that the North remains unchanged in its push to seek a negotiated resolution of the nuclear standoff.

But Kim had assured him and other leaders that his view of denuclearisation was "no different in any way from what the worldwide community demands", Moon said, and Pyongyang would not link it to the presence of USA forces in the South or nearby.

Moon, however, made it clear that North Korea taking denuclearization steps is the key to resolving the matter.

"We always believe that, as key parties to the Korean Peninsula issue, it's important for the two sides to maintain contact and we always support their dialogue to achieve positive outcomes", Lu said.

North Korea has carried out 6 nuclear blasts and launched missiles capable of reaching the whole of the United States, but has carried out no such tests for more than a year and blew up the entrances to a nuclear testing ground it said it no longer needed. Tuesday also coincided with the North Korean leader's 35th birthday.