UPDATE : 2019.9.21 SAT 10:58
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N. Korea hosts dinner reception for China's top diplomat

North Korea has hosted a dinner reception for Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visiting Pyongyang, state media reported Tuesday, amid speculation that his trip might be intended to discuss North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's visit to Beijing.

Wang arrived in Pyongyang on Monday on a three-day visit for talks with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho. Wang could also meet with the North's leader.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (3rd from L) shakes hands with a North Korean official after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport on Sept. 2, 2019, in this photo provided by the North's Korean Central Television. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

"The government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea gave a reception in honor of Wang Yi, state councilor and foreign minister of the People's Republic of China at the Mansudae Assembly Hall on Monday evening," the Korean Central News Agency said, using official names of the two allies.

The reception was also attended by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, Chinese Ambassador to North Korea Li Jinjun and other relevant officials from the two countries, the KCNA said. It did not provide other details, including Wang's schedules in Pyongyang.

Wang's visit comes as North Korea has been ramping up criticism of the United States amid a prolonged impasse in their nuclear talks. On Saturday, Pyongyang's First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said expectations for talks with the U.S. are fading away.

A source in Beijing earlier said that Wang could meet with North Korean leader Kim during his stay in Pyongyang, adding that he could also visit China in return for Chinese President Xi Jinping's trip to Pyongyang in June.

Kim has visited China four times since March last year for summits with Xi.

Wang last visited Pyongyang in May last year, just a month before Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump were to meet in Singapore. Right after Wang's trip, Kim visited the northern Chinese town of Dalian for his second summit with Xi. (Yonhap)

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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