Trump summit with Kim Jong-un 'IMMINENT'

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Kim's trip to China, which was made at the invitation of Beijing, came amid speculation that a second summit between the North's leader and US President Donald Trump is imminent.

Asked by a reporter about meeting Kim, Abe said last year's summit between the North Korean leader and U.S. President Donald Trump meant the "situation has greatly changed" and as both sides work toward further talks, "I think next time around I will also have to face Kim Jong Un".

"In a word, Chairman Kim Jong Un's visit to China is an indication that the second North Korea-U.S. summit is drawing near", Moon said.

He added that the two-day trip shows that Kim is "sensitive" to the demands of China, North Korea's primary trade and aid source.

Following their historic meeting in Singapore last June, negotiations have somewhat stalled, as the White House demands that North Korea dismantle its nuclear program first, before the United States would lift any of its punitive measures on the country. Kim also said in the speech that there is a need to promote "multi-party negotiations" in bringing about a peace mechanism to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice agreement.

Xi was quoted as saying that China supports the U.S.

According to the official readout by China's Xinhua News Agency of Kim and Xi's meeting this week in Beijing, Xi "supported [North Korea] and the United States holding summits and achieving results".

North Korea has a well-honed talent for playing the world's major players against one another, leading analysts to believe that Kim at this point may be using that skill for leverage to get what he wants from a second summit with Trump: both striking a deal with the United States and keeping his nuclear weapons. The North Korean leader confirmed he remains committed to the consensus reached during the Singapore summit with Donald Trump a year ago.

China benefits greatly from having a stable North Korea on their border as a buffer zone between them and the more western oriented South Korea.

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KCNA reported that Kim on Wednesday visited a pharmaceutical plant belonging to Beijing Tongrentang Co.

During his three-day visit to China, Mr Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju were welcomed by Mr Xi and his wife with a banquet and an art performance.

The North's Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim told Xi that the North remains unchanged in its push to seek a negotiated resolution of the nuclear standoff.

By hosting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a fourth time, China has signalled again that it will not be sidelined in the diplomatic dance between its Cold War-era ally and Washington.

Kim previously met with Xi before and after the Singapore Summit with Trump.

Speaking at a New Year's press conference, Moon ruled out the possibility of North Korea's denuclearization and a potential peace treaty being linked to the U.S. military presence in South Korea, Japan and the Pacific.

North Korea argues that the USA needs to match the steps it has taken towards denuclearisation, namely dismantling a nuclear testing site and a key missile engine facility.

However, a meeting between Mr Pompeo and senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol has yet to be rescheduled after an abrupt cancellation in November.

"We always believe that, as key parties to the Korean Peninsula issue, it's important for the two sides to maintain contact and we always support their dialogue to achieve positive outcomes", Lu said.