Nov 17, 2018 17:42 UTC
  • Chinese President to visit North Korea next year, South Korea says

Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced his plan to visit neighboring North Korea next year in response to an official invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, South Korea says.

According to a statement by the South’s presidential office on Saturday, the Chinese leader made the comment during a bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in earlier in the day on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit being held in Papua New Guinea.

At a briefing after a bilateral meeting, Kim Eui-kyeom, spokesperson for South Korea’s presidential office, quoted Xi as saying that he would “make time” to visit North Korea next year.

The spokesperson also quoted Xi as saying that Beijing would continue to play a constructive role in building peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Jong-un has visited China twice this year. He first visited China in late March, his first ever trip out of North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), since coming into power in 2011.

He made his second trip on May 7, less than a month after Pyongyang declared that it would suspend its nuclear and missile tests and dismantle a nuclear test site.

Xi, however, has never travelled to the North as president and his expected visit to the neighboring country would make him the first Chinese leader to do so since 2005, when his predecessor, Hu Jintao, visited Pyongyang. Xi travelled to North Korea in 2008 as a vice president.