North Korea confirms Kim Jong-un's meeting with Xi Jinping in China

北 "김정은, 25∼28일 中 비공식 방문…리설주 동행" 발표
Pyongyang has announced that North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, DID visit Beijing this week, and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Beijing has also confirmed this surprise trip, which is the first for a North Korean leader in some 7 years.
For more on this latest development, we have on the line Kwon Jang-ho, reporting from Seoul's unification ministry.
Jang-ho, can you give us more details on the announcement.

Good morning, Mark.
North Korean state media has announced that leader, Kim Jong-un has indeed visited Beijing in the last few days.
The report said that he was invited for an informal visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Kim was said to have left for Beijing on Sunday, and arrived in the Chinese capital on Monday.
He was accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju , as well as a whole host of senior officials, including familiar names such as Choi Ryong-hae, Ri Su-yong and Kim Yong-chul.
Kim is said to have held meetings with senior Beijing officials, as well as meeting with Xi himself.

Chinese state news also confirmed Kim's visit.

This confirms recent reports that the green train spotted in China had carried the North Korean leader on board.
This is the first time Kim Jong-un has visited China or even left the country since he came to power in 2011.

The question everyone will be asking is why now?
The upcoming North Korea summits with South Korea and the United States cannot be a mere coincidence.
For Pyongyang, it could be seen as a way to mend recent strained ties with Beijing to strengthen North Korea's hand before the talks.
For Beijing, they've been sidelined recently after talks with South Korea and the U.S. were directly reached without their mediation, and this can be seen as an attempt to get back involved.
The South Korean government is expected to issue a response in the next hour or so.
Back to you Mark.


(Source: ARIRANG NEWS, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZpDSkWofi8)