UPDATE : 2019.4.19 FRI 13:22
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N.K. confirms its leader visited China, held summit with Xi

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited China at the invitation by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and they had their first summit, state media said Wednesday.

The North's leader made an "unofficial" visit to China from Sunday to Wednesday, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju and Choe Ryong-hae, a ranking party official, according to the North's state-run radio station.

It marked Kim's first foreign trip since he took office in late 2011.

His first summit with Xi came as Kim plans to meet the leaders of South Korea and the United States in the coming months and relations between the North and China have been strayed over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Media speculation that the North's leader was apparently visiting China was sparked on Sunday when a special train carrying a ranking North Korean official, which later turned out to be Kim, arrived in China amid tight security.

Kim's trip to China comes ahead of his planned summit with President Moon Jae-in in late April and proposed meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump that could take place by May.

China's Xinhua News Agency said that Xi expressed a "warm welcome" to Kim, saying that ties between Beijing and Pyongyang were "the precious wealth of both sides.

Kim was quoted as saying that he felt he should inform Xi in person of the situation on the Korean Peninsula "out of comradeship and moral responsibility."

Kim Sua  edt@koreapost.com

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