China's Xi leaves for first state visit to N Korea

June 20, 2019 10:06
A file picture depicts Chinese TV footage of a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in January 10 this year. Photo: Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping departed for Pyongyang on Thursday on a state visit to North Korea, accompanied by a clutch of senior officials. 

Xi will be in North Korea for two days, becoming the first Chinese leader to visit the country in 14 years, Reuters reports, citing Chinese state media.

The trip could see Beijing offer fresh support measures for the North's floundering, sanctions-hit economy.

China is the reclusive North’s only major ally, and the visit comes amid renewed tension on the Korean peninsula as the United States seeks to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

Xi’s entourage includes China’s two top diplomats and He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission.

China, engaged in a bitter trade war with the United States, has defended its “normal” trade and business ties with North Korea.

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