XI Jinping took Kim Jong-UN in Dalian

Trump: Pompeo Traveling to N. Korea to Prepare for Summit

It's thought that the meetings with China are being held in preparation for US President Donald Trump's summit with Kim which is due to happen later this year.

For his part, Kim could be trying to improve ties with Xi - which have been frosty, to put it mildly - in case his outreach to Trump falls flat, analysts say.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have met in China for unannounced talks ahead of an expected summit involving Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Although there is considerable skepticism in the United States and Japan about whether North Korea is genuine, analysts point out that Kim appears to want to move on from nuclear to economic development.

The meeting held in Dalian is the second one between the two leaders.

"China supports North Korea's upholding of denuclearisation on the peninsula, and supports North Korea and the United States resolving the peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation", Xi said.

Trump said last week the time and place for his much-anticipated meeting with the North Korean leader has been decided, and will shortly be made public.

While the historic peace talks summit between North and South Korea at the end of April drew media attention, an activist and pastor has warned that without a focus on human rights, the developments are not an answered prayer for North Korean Christians.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper cited two unidentified sources as saying that Mr Xi had flown to Dalian on the coast east of Beijing to preside over the official launch of sea trials for China's first entirely self-built aircraft carrier.

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Pompeo reportedly left Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Monday, with two reporters who were prohibited from reporting on their trip until after Trump's announcement on Tuesday.

After Trump accepted Kim's offer to meet, Beijing quickly followed up by having Kim visit Xi.

Suzanne Scholte, who chairs the North Korea Freedom Coalition, separately told The Christian Post in April that unless the US focuses on getting North Korea to agree on improving its human rights record, then any negotiations will be fruitless.

China and North Korea fought side by side in the Korean War (1950-53), and remain close, but relations have been strained since the start of Pyongyang's nuclear programme, which Beijing fears has raised tensions on its borders.

Noting that this was Kim's second trip to China in just over 40 days, Xi praised the state of "strategic communication" between China and North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, feared flying, fuelling speculation that the younger Kim may not be willing to travel far to meet Trump.

The recent South Korean summit and the potential US talks have received more attention internationally, but China's role as an economic lifeline for North Korea makes the talks between Xi and Kim all the more crucial.

North Korean state media KCTV said Kim flew to Dalian on Monday on his private jet, where he was welcomed by high-profile Chinese officials including Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

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