Kim Jong Un leaves China after talks with Xi on Trump sanctions

Xi Fetes Kim Jong-un with Lavish Birthday Banquet

China has backed a second bilateral summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un and pledged to play a part in denuclearising the peninsula.

It is not clear when or where a possible second Kim-Trump summit would take place, though South Korean president Moon Jae-in has said it will happen "soon".

The comments on Thursday were reported by China's state media and came as Kim made his way back to the North on an armored train after meeting with Xi and touring China.

"The second summit would be a venue where they settle on terms of what specific measures North Korea will take and how those moves will be reciprocated by the United States", Mr Moon told a news conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.

Xinhua also said that Kim and Xi agreed to make efforts for continuous "new development", a "political settlement process of the Korean Peninsula" and "more benefits" for the people of the two countries and that they would contribute to peace and stability, prosperity and development of the region and beyond.

"China hopes that the DPRK and the United States will meet each other halfway", he was quoted as saying.

Nonetheless a commentary carried by KCNA last month stressed that when Pyongyang refers to "denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", it includes the North, the South, and "surrounding areas from where the Korean peninsula is targeted".

North Korea wants relief from the multiple sets of sanctions imposed on it over its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, while the U.S. wants them to remain in place until it gives up its arms - something Pyongyang has made no public promise to do.

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With over 90 percent of North Korea's trade volume flowing through China's borders, Xi can control the faucet of North Korea's economy better than Trump by choosing to enforce those sanctions or take a more relaxed approach.

The DongA Ilbo newspaper said that Xi hosted Kim at a banquet, which was held on the date believed to be North Korean leader's 35th birthday.

"However, as it is linked to the second North Korea-US summit, I think that Kim Jong-un's visit would be more smoothly arranged after the second North Korea-US summit".

Experts think Kim's China trip was meant to discuss strategies with his closest ally ahead of a possible summit with Trump, adding that it also appears aimed at strengthening the North's negotiating leverage by demonstrating its strong ties with Beijing. This time, Kim was accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and North Korean Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol, who is in charge of nuclear talks with the United States.

Kim previously met with Xi before and after the Singapore Summit with Trump. "China and the DPRK are friendly and close neighbours and it is also an important tradition for us to maintain friendly exchanges", Lu said, referring to North Korea's formal name.

At Tuesday's daily Chinese foreign ministry briefing, spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing remains supportive of efforts to end tensions over US demands for a halt to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

While Trump says he considers Xi key to enticing Kim into taking concrete steps toward denuclearization, the president's own relationship with his Chinese counterpart has frayed over the U.S.

All sides should "jointly push for a comprehensive resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue", he said.

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