Kim tells Xi North awaits US move

Top News | ASSOCIATED PRESS 21 Jun 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, meeting with visiting President Xi Jinping, said his country is waiting on a response in stalled nuclear talks with the United States.

"North Korea would like to remain patient," state broadcaster CCTV reported Kim as saying. "But it hopes the relevant party will meet halfway with North Korea."

Xi's two-day trip to North Korea is the first by a Chinese president in 14 years, though Kim has met Xi four times in China.

This visit raises the possibility Beijing could help break a months-long impasse in talks between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea's nuclear weapons.

Describing that issue as "highly complex and sensitive," Xi said his government is willing to play a constructive role in ensuring peace. And the international community "expects the US and North Korea to continue to talk and achieve results," he added.

The summit comes with Xi and Kim locked in separate disputes with Washington - Xi over trade and Kim over his weapons.

With Xi due to meet President Donald Trump next week in Japan at the G20 gathering, analysts say Kim may ask Xi to pass on a message that could revive the North's talks with the American leader.

Nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea broke down after a summit between Kim and Trump in February in Vietnam ended in failure.

Washington demands that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons development before international sanctions are lifted.

North Korea is seeking a step-by-step approach in which moves toward denuclearization are matched by concessions from the United States, notably a relaxation of economic sanctions.

Xi's visit to North Korea, announced just this week, began with the synchronized pomp of all major events in the country.

Xi, wife Peng Liyuan and Chinese officials were met with a 21-gun salute and about 10,000 cheering people at Pyongyang's airport.

And Xi and his wife were greeted personally by Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju.

Then Xi went in a motorcade to central Pyongyang, where he joined Kim in an open-top car.

Standing, they waved to crowds as they rode to the square where the embalmed bodies of Kim's grandfather and father lie in state.

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