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Chinese president Xi Jinping has met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a northern Chinese port city, officials said.

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.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency even went to the extent of saying that the plane carried North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to China although it did not produce any evidence, AP said.

Donald Trump tweeted he would be speaking to Mr Xi today.

North Korean state media KCTV said Kim flew to Dalian on Monday on his private jet, where he was welcomed by high-profile Chinese officials including Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The Chinese President is reportedly planning a trip to the North Korean capital Pyongyang, an official told CNN in April, but no date has been announced as yet. Pyongyang claims Kim himself is the driver of the current situation and the spokesman said the USA should not to interpret Pyongyang's willingness to talk as a sign of weakness.

His trip was kept secret until he returned to North Korea.

Although there were no guarantees that the American prisoners would be freed during Pompeo's visit, U.S. officials said their release would be a significant goodwill gesture ahead of the Trump-Kim summit that is expected later this month or in early June. A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman warned the claims are a "dangerous attempt" to ruin a budding detente on the Korean Peninsula after the summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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French President Emmanuel Macron urged Trump to stay in the deal when he met with the president in Washington last month. They will also discuss the USA president's own upcoming summit with the North Korean leader, a statement said.

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Next week, China's top economic official, Vice Premier Liu He, is scheduled to visit Washington to resume negotiations sparked by the Trump administration's threat to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese imports.

Trump has already said that he was not considering reducing the United States military's presence in South Korea as part of the negotiations.

In the past North Korea has used the term "hostile policies" in reference to the US troop presence in South Korea, the USA nuclear umbrella covering South Korea and Japan and regular joint military exercises in South Korea.

News of a second meeting between the two leaders so soon after the first one surprised analysts and said it could be a sign of real discussions about denuclearisation.

According to the Xinhua report, Kim said he chose to meet Xi again to "inform him of the situation, hoping to strengthen strategic communication and cooperation with China, deepen DPRK-China friendship, and promote regional peace and stability".

Internet users in China said security was beefed up in Dalian and flight delays happened.

"President Trump and President Xi agreed on the importance of continued implementation of sanctions on North Korea until it permanently dismantles its nuclear and missile programs", the readout said.

The meeting Monday and Tuesday in Dalian is the second between Xi and Kim in recent weeks, following Kim's March visit to Beijing - his first since taking power six years ago.


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