Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

High-ranking North Korean official may be visiting China's Dalian

High-ranking North Korean official may be visiting China's Dalian

The North Korean leader met last month with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and is preparing for a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, possibly as early as this month.

Within a period of more than one month, he and Kim met twice and they have been keeping in close contact, Xi said.

As with Mr Kim's March visit to Beijing, his presence in Dalian was not officially confirmed until he had left China.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced trip to North Korea, weeks ahead of the highly anticipated summit between the USA and North Korea, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday.

"Media abounded with pessimistic takes such as "Optimism About Korea Will Kill Us All: "The First Step Towards Peace Is Lowering Expectations" (Foreign Policy, 4/20/18), "Kim Jong Un Is Masterfully Playing Trump's Game" (Bloomberg, 5/3/18), "North Korea's Warm-and Fuzzy-Peace Summit" (Daily Beast, 4/27/18) and "'Don't Pop the Champagne Yet': "Experts Take on the Inter-Korea Summit" (Washington Examiner, 4/28/18), all of which echoed the conventional wisdom that we have gone through this before, and there was little new or plausible in the peace agreement.

While the historic peace talks summit between North and South Korea at the end of April drew media attention, an activist and pastor has warned that without a focus on human rights, the developments are not an answered prayer for North Korean Christians.

"I will be speaking to my friend, President Xi of China, this morning at 8:30", Trump tweeted.

Trump has tested the Supreme Leader of North Korea over Twitter before, openly mocking him over his weight and referring to Kim as "Rocket Man".

The South Korean government is exploring ways to increase economic cooperation with North Korea without breaching global sanctions or earning the ire of Trump.

China sees the US's missile defenses and forces in South Korea as a serious threat and a mechanism to contain Beijing.

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NHK television showed images of two planes taking off from the northeastern port city of Dalian, one belonging to North Korea's Air Koryo, and another used by high-profile officials from Pyongyang.

In a text message to reporters, Moon's spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom, said China had informed South Korea of the Dalian summit.

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.

Since the first summit in March, Kim said both bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula "have undergone meaningful progress", the report said.

The meeting between Kim and Trump would be a first between a sitting United States president and a North Korean leader, offering a potential breakthrough in relations between the two adversaries.

Posts about unusual traffic jams and security in Dalian popped up on Chinese social media.

"Over the weekend, I've had the opportunity to speak with a number of North Korean Christians and ask them the question, 'What do you think?' Their response is that they are very surprised that believers in the rest of the world have set aside the things we've been praying for related to North Korea and are receiving the current circumstances as kind of an answer to prayer", he added.

North Korea's state media reported that Kim traveled to Dalian via a special plane and he was accompanied by his powerful sister Kim Yo-jong and Ri Su-yong, a vice party chairman on worldwide affairs.

It was not known how long the Xi-Kim meeting had been planned or why Dalian was chosen.

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