North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made an unannounced visit to China this week, his first known journey abroad since he assumed power in December 2011.
After rumors swirled in the past couple of days about the secret trip, China, through state media, confirmed on Wednesday that Kim did indeed make such a journey.
Xinhua reported that Kim visited China from Sunday to Wednesday on an unofficial visit, and that he met up with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the trip.
The Chinese state news agency published a photograph of Kim and Xi shaking hands in front of the flags of the two nations, Reuters reports.
The visit comes as North Korea prepares for planned summit meetings with South Korea and the United States.
Speculation about a possible visit by Kim to Beijing was rife earlier this week after a train similar to the one used by Kim’s father was seen in the Chinese capital, along with heavy security and a large motorcade, Reuters noted.
Improving ties between North Korea and China would be a positive sign before the planned summits involving the two Koreas and the US, a senior South Korean official said on Tuesday.
During the China trip, Kim held “successful talks” with Xi in Beijing, according to Xinhua.
Kim is said to have assured his Chinese counterpart that he is committed to denuclearization, BBC reports.
“The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill,” Kim is reported to have told Xi.
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