For 35th Birthday, Kim Jong Un Heads to China

He may be preparing for new Trump summit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 8, 2019 4:47 AM CST
Updated Jan 8, 2019 5:52 AM CST
Kim Jong Un Embarks on China Visit
In this Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, photo provided on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019 by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks with his wife Ri Sol Ju at Pyongyang Station in Pyongyang, North Korea, before leaving for China.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Beijing on Tuesday at the start of a four-day visit, in what's likely an effort to coordinate with his only major ally ahead of a second summit with President Trump that could happen early this year. A long motorcade including motorcycle outriders reserved for state leaders left a Beijing train station shortly after the arrival of an armored train consisting of 20 to 25 cars—most of whose windows were blacked-out—along tracks lined by police and paramilitary troops, the AP reports. Kim's trip, announced earlier by both sides, comes after US and North Korean officials are believed to have met in Vietnam to discuss the location of a second summit.

The North's Korean Central News Agency said Kim departed Monday afternoon with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and other top officials. It said Kim is visiting China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Tuesday also happens to be Kim's 35th birthday. China's official Xinhua News Agency issued a nearly identical report. Kim's trip comes as the US and North Korea look to settle the North's decades-long pursuit of a nuclear arsenal. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang gave no details about China's role as an intermediary between the US and North Korea, but said Beijing remained supportive of all efforts toward a solution. (Kim had a New Year's message for Trump.)

(More North Korea stories.)

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