Key moments in North Korea-China relationship

China has traditionally been North Korea's closest ally

China has traditionally been North Korea's closest ally

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made an unannounced visit to China and met President Xi Jinping reaffirming his commitment to denuclearisation, weeks before planned summit meetings with US and South Korean leaders, Chinese and North Korean media said Wednesday.

However, Yun said Kim apparently had a different definition of denuclearisation - which includes the removal of U.S. nuclear weapons and troops from the peninsula - and "there are many preconditions before North Korea actually starts its own measures to denuclearise". China's backing at this stage will only add to Mr Kim's confidence, given his unchallenged grip on power and the North's nuclear and missile programmes.

North Korea and China has both confirmed that Kim has met with Xi in an unofficial visit, and the Korean leader has arrived for his first known worldwide trip last Sunday, March 25.

The trip was Kim's first known journey overseas since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States.

Many analysts and former negotiators believe this still constitutes North Korea's stance and remain deeply skeptical Kim is willing to give up the weapons his family has been developing for decades.

Xi had accepted an invitation "with pleasure" to visit North Korea, KCNA said.

A trade spat between the world's top two economies is escalating, with U.S. President Donald Trump preparing to slap tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports over the alleged forced transfer of intellectual property.

China released footage and pictures of the Xi, Kim summit a day after the meeting was held. North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006.

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But then eagle-eyed reporters from Japanese television spotted a distinctive green and yellow armored train pulling into Beijing on Monday.

China is the main political ally and great economic partner of North Korea, since the time when it sent troops to support Pyongyang in the Korean War (1950-1953). "The briefing included a personal message from President Xi to President Trump, which has been conveyed to President Trump".

"By pulling China back into it, North Korea are balancing it out again and having their patron back on their side as part of this process".

During the visit, which was kept under wraps, Kim held talks with Xi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during which the two leaders hailed their nations' historic relations, with the North Korean leader pledging that he was "committed to the denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula, Xinhua reported.

He appeared to have a good time, waving goodbye from the train's window with a big grin on his face as he departed Beijing Train Station.

"There is no question that my first foreign visit would be to the Chinese capital", Kim said, according to North Korea's official KCNA news agency.

"We had long expected Kim to pay a courtesy call to Beijing early in his leadership, he held off for seven years until he felt he was in a position of power to meet with the president of China as an equal", said Jean Lee, a North Korea expert at the Wilson Center.

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