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China’s Xi to visit North Korea this week ahead of G20 meet

AFP
Beijing
Xi Jinping will make the first trip to North Korea by a Chinese president in 14 years this week, state media said Monday, as Beijing tightens relations with Pyongyang amid tensions with the United States.
Xi will visit Pyongyang on Thursday and Friday at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said Chinese official news agency Xinhua. The timing is likely to raise eyebrows at the White House as it comes one week before the G20 summit in Japan, where US President Donald Trump expects to meet with Xi to discuss their protracted trade war.
Analysts say Xi could now use North Korea as leverage in talks with Trump.
China and North Korea have worked to improve relations in the past year after they deteriorated as Beijing backed a series of UN sanctions against its Cold War-era ally over its nuclear activities.
The North’s leader Kim Jong Un has travelled to China–his country’s sole major ally–four times in the past year to meet Xi.
But Xi had yet to reciprocate until now. It will be the first trip there by a Chinese president since Hu Jintao went in 2005. The meetings between the two leaders over the past year have “opened a new chapter for China-DPRK relations,” said Xinhua.

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