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 now connect live with Kwon Jang-ho, reporting from Seoul's unification ministry.
Jang-ho, can you give us more details on the announcement.

Good afternoon, Mark.
North Korean and Chinese state media have announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has indeed visited Beijing after being 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 host of senior officials, including familiar names such as Choi Ryong-hae, Ri Su-yong and Kim Yong-chul.
This confirms the recent reports that the armored train spotted in Beijing over the last few days 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.

That is quite a development, considering relations between the two sides are not said to have been great in recent years, with North Korea continuing to test nuclear weapons against Beijing's wishes. What are the two leaders said to have discussed?

You're right, the two sides haven't had the best of relationships recently, Kim Jong-un even snubbing a meeting with a senior Beijing official who visited Pyongyang just a few months ago.
But the state media reports today repeatedly mention that the two leaders reaffirmed the importance and closeness of their relationship.
The meeting is being seen as a way for North Korea to garner support before the upcoming summits with South Korea and the U.S. and as a way for Beijing to be involved again, after its role as mediator was sidelined in recent months.
Xi is said to have told Kim that he thought highly of the visit, while Kim said it was out of, quote, "comradeship and moral responsibility" that he came because of the recent developments on the Korean peninsula.
Kim mentioned the upcoming summits, saying that the regime is willing to denuclearize IF Seoul and Washington respond to North Korea's goodwill.
The media reports also said Xi hosted a welcoming banquet for Kim and his wife on Monday, and watched an art performance together.
The two sides do seem to be looking to show that they are on good terms again.
Back to you Mark.

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