China's President Xi to visit North Korea this week

North Korea's Kim Jong Un has visited China four times since March 2018 but it will be Xi's first trip to Pyongyang.

    Xi Jinping will be the first president of China to visit North Korea in 14 years [Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images]
    Xi Jinping will be the first president of China to visit North Korea in 14 years [Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images]

    China's President Xi Jinping will visit North Korea on Thursday for two days, making him the first Chinese leader to visit the reclusive country in 14 years.

    Neighbouring China is North Korea's lone major ally and the visit comes amid a protracted dispute with the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear programme and missile arsenal.

    "Both sides will exchange views on the [Korean] Peninsula situation, and push for new progress in the political resolution of the peninsula issue," China's official CCTV broadcaster said in a lengthy report that led the evening broadcast.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has visited China four times since March 2018, CCTV reported, adding this marked the 70th year since China and North Korea established diplomatic ties.

    The last Chinese leader to visit North Korea was Hu Jintao in 2005.

    Kim and US President Donald Trump held a summit last year in Singapore and one in Hanoi this year, but hopes among observers over imminent progress towards denuclearisation have since faded.

    Last month Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered to meet Kim "unconditionally" in a bid to restore diplomatic ties between the two historic foes.

    North Korean authorities gave no public indication of any willingness by Kim to meet Abe.

    Kim met Russian leader Vladimir Putin earlier in May after multiple meetings with Trump, Xi and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in. 

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies