Kim Jong Un departs Beijing after meetings with Xi Jinping

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Kim Jong Un departs Beijing after meetings with Xi Jinping

A special train believed to be carrying Kim Jong Un departed Beijing on Wednesday after a two-day visit by the North Korean leader to the Chinese capital.

During the North Korean leader's visit to China, he had a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, and visited a pharmaceutical factory in southern Beijing, in addition to a high-tech economic development zone.

A auto carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un heads to the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Tuesday.

But his looming summit with Mr Trump is a pressing issue.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves from his train before it departs from Pyongyang to make the trip to Beijing, China, Jan. 7, 2019.

Each time Kim visited China a year ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang shortly afterward, but the US official seems to have no similar plan this time.

Yonhap said Kim met with Xi for about an hour Tuesday and later attended a dinner at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing hosted by Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan. Xi then threw a lavish banquet for Kim to celebrate his birthday, but state-run CCTV made no mention of Kim's visit.

-China Relations, joined CBSN to discuss.

"In order to resist the high pressure of the USA, he must communicate with Xi in advance to see what steps he can take to deal with Trump", Beijing-based independent political commentator Hua Po told AFP. But further negotiations have stalled over the North's demand for front-loaded sanctions relief tied to small progress, and its opposition to the Trump administration's call for complete denuclearization prior to granting any concessions. He said Beijing remains supportive of efforts to end tensions over US demands for a halt to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Kim chose China for his maiden official trip overseas past year before holding meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Trump.

The visit coincided with negotiations between United States and Chinese officials in Beijing to resolve a bruising trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

The United States insists that United Nations sanctions must remain in place until North Korea gives up its weapons, while Pyongyang wants them immediately eased. While there have been reports of easier inspections at the North Korean border, China has denied that it's relaxing pressure on the regime.

Some analysts say China could use its cooperation on the North Korean issue as a bargaining chip in the USA trade talks.

Shi Yinhong, an worldwide relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said Kim's trip would have no direct influence on the progress of trade talks. "China and the DPRK are friendly and close neighbours and it is also an important tradition for us to maintain friendly exchanges", Lu said, referring to North Korea's formal name.

The North Korea leader, who stressed that attaining economic self-sufficiency and prosperity is the country's core drive in his New Year's address, spent some 30 minutes there inspecting production sites, which could be a model for North Korea in modernizing its herbal medicine industry.

Kim added that the ongoing US-China trade talks seem to be Trump's priority more than any other issue at the moment.

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