N.Korea TV airs video of Kim's visit to China

Mark Schiefelbein  APPolice in tactical gear block a road leading to the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing Tuesday

South Korean officials led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon on Thursday arrived for the talks at the northern side of the Panmunjom border village.

The two leaders held talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

KCNA/via REUTERSNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Il had never been seen overseas with any of his wives, though he was believed to have been accompanied by the woman suspected of being his fourth wife on visits to China and Russian Federation, yet it was never announced officially.

A senior South Korean official says the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will be shaped by discussions on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea's diplomatic outreach to South Korea and the United States followed an unusually provocative year of weapons tests and has been seen as an attempt, in part, to improve a struggling economy crushed the heavy sanctions those test brought about.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, responding to a question Thursday about reports of such talks, said Japan has all along communicated with North Korea via multiple channels.

According to Xinhua, Chinese state media, Kim told Xi he was open to summit talks with Trump.

For China, the visit also projects to its public that Xi is firmly in charge of steering Beijing's relations with North Korea in a way that favors China's interests. The only mention of any nuclear issue in North Korean media at press time is a passing mention of a visit Kim reportedly made to an exhibition on China's "successes made in the field of natural science and technology such as nuclear physics, outer space, agriculture and energy".

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U.S. President Donald Trump, who has agreed to meet with Kim, welcomed this week's meeting between Kim and Xi in a tweet saying, "Look forward to our meeting". It has yet to announce a planned summit meeting with Mr. Trump.

This week, Mr. Kim surprised both South Korea and the United States by secretly visiting Beijing, in his first trip outside North Korea since taking power. And by reaching out to Kim, Chinese President Xi Jinping reasserted Beijing's desire to control regional developments after standing on the sidelines of the flurry of diplomatic activity between Washington, Seoul, and Pyongyang in recent weeks.

President Donald Trump went so far as to venture that there is now "a good chance" that peace between North Korea and the U.S. can be established. -South Korean war games and the North's suspension of nuclear and missile activities.

Like his son, he added, for the first six years of his rule the older Kim stayed in North Korea "securing his rule domestically, often violently" before starting to meet foreign leaders.

Reuters/Kevin LamarqueUS President Donald Trump speaks in front of his Trump Tower residence. Analysts think Kim may have been seeking promises from Beijing that it wouldn't hit the North too hard with sanctions if the talks with Washington and Seoul fall apart and the North starts testing nuclear weapons and missiles again. China is unhappy about having an emerging nuclear menace at its doorstep, but also doesn't want to see a collapse of a next door government it sees as a buffer state against US ally South Korea.

"At least one of the things that Kim would want out of these meetings is a way forward to begin to ease those sanctions and support from China in that effort", said Glaser, the Asia expert.

"That is the playbook Kim Jong-un is following".

But it also has its own interests in mind.

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