Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Defect to South Korea, North's ex-diplomat urges missing colleague

Defect to South Korea, North's ex-diplomat urges missing colleague

Kim agreed to travel to Seoul for the first time as a North Korean leader "at an early date" during his summit meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in September.

Kim's trip comes after the US and North Korean officials are believed to have met in Vietnam to discuss the location of a second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump.

"At the invitation of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president, Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is visiting China", the official Xinhua News Agency quoted an unidentified spokesperson from the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee International Department as saying Tuesday.

Officials in China and in Seoul had no immediate comment.

"When I came here this country was heading to war with North Korea and now we have a very good dialogue going".

But Japan's Kyodo news agency said hotel guests in Dandong had not been allowed to enter rooms facing the river that forms the border on Monday afternoon, in what sources described as "an apparent move to prevent the train from being seen".

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A special North Korean train was spotted entering China at about 10:15pm local time (2:15pm GMT).

Speculation had grown on Monday that Mr Kim was possibly making his way to China on board his armoured train.

Despite starting his Presidency with explosive rhetoric against Kim, Trump has changed his tone considerably, and even went so far as to say "we fell in love" in September a year ago.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump said a location for another meeting between the two would be announced in the not-too-distant-future. The North Korean leader warned in a New Year's speech that Pyongyang may change its approach to nuclear talks if Washington persists with sanctions. Many of its decades-old coal plants were built by the former Soviet Union and China, according to South Korean data.

Kim's regime, however, has been bogged down by global sanctions caused by past nuclear and missile tests. North Korea is notoriously secretive about such matters.

North Korea's coal production rose from 2013 to 2016, but fell 30 percent to 21.66 million tonnes in 2017 from 2016, according to South Korean government data. The two leaders are expected to meet soon.

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