Xi says China backs North Korean efforts to solve Korea Peninsula issue - Rodong Sinmun

 Xi says China backs North Korean efforts to solve Korea Peninsula issue - Rodong Sinmun

SEOUL (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping said in an op-ed in North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Wednesday that China supports North Korea's "correct direction" in resolving the issue of the Korean Peninsula politically.

The front-page op-ed comes a day before Xi is set to visit Pyongyang on Thursday and Friday at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, making him the first Chinese leader to visit in 14 years.

As nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea remain stalled since the collapse of the Hanoi summit between North Korea's Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in February, and tensions mount between Beijing and Washington over trade and other issues, Xi's visit kicks off a flurry of high-level diplomatic activity around the Korean Peninsula ahead of the G20 summit in Japan later this month.

Xi said that the two Asian countries will "strengthen our strategic communication and exchanges," adding that China will "firmly support" Kim's "achievements in socialist construction by leading the Workers' Party and the people through a new strategic route, focusing all his efforts on economic development and improving people's lives," according to the newspaper.

"We will actively contribute to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region by strengthening communication and coordination with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," Xi said.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is North Korea's official name.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; editing by Shri Navaratnam and G Crosse)

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Updated Date: Jun 19, 2019 06:06:17 IST