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N.K. leader likely to visit industrial facilities in China

All Headlines 10:59 January 09, 2019

BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un left China's state guesthouse on what is expected to be an industrial tour Wednesday, a day after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a show of close ties ahead of his possible second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Escorted by police motorcycles, a limousine carrying Kim was seen leaving the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse at around 9 a.m. and heading east. Sources said Kim is expected to visit an economic-technological development zone in Beijing.

Kim embarked on a four-day trip to China on Monday afternoon. He arrived by train in Beijing on Tuesday and hours later held a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Details on what they discussed during about an hourlong meeting have yet to be disclosed.

Escorted by Chinese police, a vehicle carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un passes through central Beijing on Jan. 9, 2019. Sources say that Kim plans to visit an economic-technological development zone in the Chinese capital. (Yonhap)

Kim's trip to China, the fourth of its kind since taking office in late 2011, comes amid speculation that a second summit between the North's leader and U.S. President Donald Trump is imminent.

In his New Year's Day speech, Kim warned that he could go a new way if the United States clings to pressure and sanctions on its regime. He still kept the door open for talks with the U.S., saying he is willing to meet Trump at any time.

Trump earlier said that the U.S. and North Korea are in talks over where to hold their second summit and the decision on the venue will be announced in the "not-too-distant future."

Last year, Kim traveled to China and met with Xi three times before and after he held his first-ever summit with Trump in Singapore in June.

In the summit, Kim agreed to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees.

Progress, however, has been slow for months as the North calls for sanctions relief, while Washington says such concessions will not be granted until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons.

Experts see Kim's trip to China might be intended to discuss strategies with its closest ally ahead of a possible summit with Trump. They added that it also appears aimed at strengthening the North's negotiating leverage by demonstrating its strong ties with Beijing.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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