North Korea's Kim meets China's president ahead of Trump summit

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U.S. President Donald Trump said he will speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday to discuss trade and North Korea, following last week's U.S.

His visit will come just a day after Kim returned from China, his second trip to the neighboring country in six weeks to meet with President Xi Jinping.

China is North Korea's only major ally but trade has plummeted in recent months because Beijing is enforcing United Nations economic sanctions, following ballistics missile tests in North Korea.

However, state broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying China "supports North Korea to stick to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and supports North Korea and the solving the peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation".

The United States has ratcheted up the level of denuclearization it is demanding to a "permanent, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement" (PVID) of North Korean nuclear weapons.

In March, he visited the Chinese capital of Beijing, and last month, he crossed the DMZ between North and South Korea for a historic meeting between him and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in.

"China's top economic adviser, the vice premier, will be coming here next week to continue the discussions with the president's economic team". Pyongyang claims Kim himself is the driver of the current situation and the spokesman said the US should not to interpret Pyongyang's willingness to talk as a sign of weakness.

And finally, in the long term, the Global Times piece said China would act as an "indispensable companion" in North Korea's smooth social and economic transition.

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The remarks were not seen in reports by North Korea's state media about the summit.

As might be expected, the USA was a topic of the meeting. "And with the help of China, South Korea and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone", Trump added.

Moon said Kim was "a very open and practical person" and both leaders had a mutual goal for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

The second meeting with Xi and the lack of details on the Trump-Kim summit - a time and location have still not been set, although Trump has said an announcement is coming soon - has raised speculation among analysts that the summit preparations may have hit a snag.

In the past, North Korean leaders have been reluctant to travel by air on worldwide journeys, especially Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, who famously went everywhere in his personal armored train.

China and North Korea fought side by side in the Korean War (1950-53), and remain close, but relations have been strained since the start of Pyongyang's nuclear programme, which Beijing fears has raised tensions on its borders.

China has been making all sorts of engagements with North Korea and its neighbours to ensure that it doesn't lose out to the US-backed peace initiative in the Korean Peninsula in which Washington's ally South Korean has also played a big role.