BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has held talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a northern China port city, Chinese state media reported Tuesday.
The meeting held Monday and Tuesday in Dalian is the second between the two men in recent weeks, following Kim’s March visit to Beijing — his first since taking power six years ago.
Xi hosted a welcome banquet for Kim and the two leaders strolled along the coastline at a government guesthouse and had lunch together on Tuesday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
“In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the top leaders of the two parties and the two countries had an all-round and in-depth exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and major issues of common concern,” Xinhua said, using the initials for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
China is North Korea’s only major ally, although trade has plummeted in recent months as Beijing enforces United Nations economic sanctions in response to the North’s nuclear bomb and ballistic missile tests.
Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month, and is expected to hold an historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, possibly before the end of the month.
China has been eager to assert its importance in the process of lowering tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
It was not known how long the Xi-Kim meeting had been planned or why Dalian was chosen. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper cited two unidentified sources as saying that Xi had flown to Dalian on the coast east of Beijing to preside over the official launch of sea trials for China’s first entirely self-built aircraft carrier.
Chinese internet users posting on social media described heavy security in the city and extensive flight delays on Monday. Others said they spotted a set of Red Flag limousines used by state leaders.
As with Kim’s March visit to Beijing, his presence in Dalian was not officially confirmed until he had left China. Reports said his jet flew out of Dalian airport on Tuesday afternoon.