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China says North Korea pledges denuclearisation

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China said on Wednesday North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to denuclearise the Korean peninsula during an historic meeting in Beijing with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold its friendship with its isolated neighbour.

After two days of speculation, China and North Korea both confirmed on Wednesday that Kim had visited Beijing and met Xi during what China’s official Xinhua news agency called an unofficial visit from Sunday to Wednesday.

The trip was Kim’s first known journey abroad 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.

North Korea’s KCNA news agency made no mention of Kim’s pledge to denuclearise, or his anticipated meeting with US President Donald Trump that is planned for some time in May.

Beijing has traditionally been the closest ally of secretive North Korea but ties have been frayed by North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing of tough UN sanctions in response.

Xinhua cited Kim as telling Xi that the situation on the Korean peninsula is starting to improve because North Korea has taken the initiative to ease tensions and put forward proposals for peace talks.

[Source: Reuters/ SABC]
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