China's Xi Jinping to make first state visit to North Korea

Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to North Korea will mark the first there by a Chinese president in more than a decade

He also took exception to reports questioning the timing of Xi's visit to North Korea and speculation linking the trip to Xi-Trump meeting, which China is yet to confirm. "I shall say certain people with such thinking may over interpret that", Lu said.

Zhang was, however, intriguingly downbeat on the possibility of China breaking United Nations sanctions against North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Putin and Xi are also set to see Trump at the G20 summit later this month in Japan, where it is widely anticipated that the two leaders would try to improve their hard ties with the U.S. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters Monday "that the U.S. side has expressed publicly on many occasions its hope to arrange a meeting between the two heads of state on the sidelines of the G20 Osaka Summit" but did not confirm if such a meeting will take place.

Here's a look at what both Xi and Kim may be trying to achieve with the first visit to Pyongyang of a Chinese leader in 14 years.

China has traditionally provided North Korea with aid after previous leaders' summits, and Xi may do the same this time. "Beijing is likely anxious that the lack of progress in negotiations could eventually devolve into another round of crisis and tension, so would like to make sure that diplomacy could continue - even if the prospects for tangible progress remain slim".

The news comes as Chinese President Xi is set to pay a two-day state visit to North Korea from Thursday.

The visit coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and North Korea, CCTV said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited China several times this year.

"The signal would be that China remains a critical stakeholder", said Jingdong Yuan, a professor specialising in Asia-Pacific security and Chinese foreign policy at the University of Sydney.

The trade war between the world's two largest economies has grown increasingly acrimonious over the past several months. And other issues, including China's moves in the South China Sea and U.S. support for Taiwan, have also contributed to deteriorating Sino-U.S. ties. "Meaning the President of China, President Xi, could be influencing", Trump said in May 2018.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's office said he and Xi would hold talks during the G20.

He said it would serve as a reminder to Washington that Beijing's cooperation is necessary if the USA hopes to achieve its strategic goals in the Asia-Pacific region. "China relationship, Beijing may want to remind Washington that it is not in the USA interests to drive its relationship with China further in the direction of a new Cold War", Zhao added.

In fact, Xi broke with longstanding Chinese diplomatic precedent by visiting South Korea first. Kim will be looking for China's help to pressure the United States into easing that stance. The unannounced trip was Kim's first since succeeding his father in late 2011 and he's since met with Xi three more times, all in China. Media reports citing sources familiar with the letter's contents said it did not contain any details on a way forward for the stalled nuclear talks. "The timing of Xi's visit has nothing to do with talks with US", Lu said.

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