AFP: Xi heads to North Korea to meet Kim ahead of Trump talks20 June 2019 | 02:11 | FOCUS News Agency
Xi will be the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years after relations between the Cold War era allies deteriorated over Pyongyang's nuclear provocations and Beijing's subsequent backing of UN sanctions.
Xi and Kim have been working to repair ties, with the young North Korean leader visiting his older comrade four times in China in the past year and Beijing calling for sanctions to be relaxed.
But the Chinese leader waited to reciprocate the visit, biding his time to see how nuclear talks between Kim and Trump would play out before deciding to travel to Pyongyang, according to analysts.
Xi's two-day visit is a chance for China to showcase its influence in the region.
"For North Korea, the coming meeting will serve to show the US that China has its back and to send a message to Washington it should stop its maximum pressure posture," said Lim Eul-chul, professor of North Korean studies at Kyungnam University.
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