A television screen shows Chinese state media CCTV’s footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Pyongyang, in Beijing, China June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed that amid “serious and complicated” international affairs strengthening bilateral ties was good for both countries and regional peace, North Korean state media KCNA said on Friday.
Xi arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday for a two-day visit aimed at bolstering an ally under pressure from U.N. sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes and a breakdown in denuclearisation talks with the United States.
The visit, the first by a Chinese leader in 14 years, comes a week before Xi and U.S. President Donald Trump meet at the G20 summit in Osaka amid an ongoing trade dispute.
Kim said Xi’s visit, which may see China bring fresh support for North Korea’s floundering, sanctions-bound economy, was “crucial” to show the world the unchanging friendship between the two countries, KCNA said.
China is the North’s only major ally.
Xi said Beijing and Pyongyang agreed that a political settlement of the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue has been “an inevitable trend,” and that they need to continue to stick to peace talks, according to China’s Xinhua.
The two leaders agreed to have close strategic communication and deepen cooperation in various fields, KCNA said.
On Thursday, Xi praised Pyongyang’s efforts towards denuclearization and said the world hopes North Korea and the United States can talk to each other and for those talks to be successful.
Since a failed summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi earlier this year, Pyongyang has conducted some weapons tests and warned of “truly undesired consequences” if the United States is not more flexible.
Reporting by Joyce Lee; Additional reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Stephen Coates and Michael Perry