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South Korea says watching China closely as senior North Korean visits



BEIJING / SEOUL (Reuters) – Korea, South Korea said on Tuesday it was nearing Beijing, where diplomatic sources said a senior North Korean official of historic summits.

Police officers patrol near the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where foreign residents usually stay, in Beijing, China March 27, 2018. REUTERS / Jason Lee

Bloomberg, citing three unidentified sources, reported on Monday that Kim was in Beijing North Korea since taking power in 2011. The unconfirmed visit therefore comes with a potential summit with US President Donald Trump.

"The presidential blue house is watching things in Beijing very closely, while keeping open all open," said the senior official in Seoul, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Improving bilateral ties between North Korea and China would be a positive sign before the planned summits, he said.

A Reuters reporter saw a convoy leave Beijing's Diaoyutai State Guest House, where they stay on Tuesday morning. It was unclear where the convoy was headed.

A senior U.S. official who follows North Korea said that Kim had traveled to China President Xi Jinping, but had not been confirmed.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing said a senior North Korean official was in town, but did not know exactly who.

Underscoring the mystery surrounding the trip, one senior Beijing-based diplomatic source told Reuters simply: "We just do not know".

Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was in the city. She visited South Korea for the Winter Olympics last month, paving the way for a summit between the two Koreas.

South Korean news agency reported Kim Yo Jong and the North's ceremonial leader, Kim Yong Nam, were visiting Beijing, citing an unidentified North Korea-related source in Beijing.

The pair visited South Korean President Moon Jae-in at his office in Seoul during the Winter Olympics in February.

U.S. Pat. Kim Jong Un would have to send his sister on an important mission because of that she would make an impression she is looking for a high-profile trip, unlike her ceremonial Visit to South Korea for the Olympics.

On the contrary, the official said, a summing up with Xi would underscore Kim's standing as a world leader.

Xi and Kim Jong have come to Kim's meetings with Moon and possibly Trump, the U.S. official said.

"Xi has met trump, and in many respects learned how to deal with him better than some people here," the official said.

Beijing's main east-west thoroughfare, Changan Avenue, near the Great People's Hall in Beijing, China March 27, 2018. REUTERS / Damir Sagolj

"At the same time, despite the recent It has a lot of leverage with the North. "

PURPOSE UNKNOWN

Kim Jong Un's visit, including its purpose and itinerary, were not known, Bloomberg reported. Pyongyang official appeared on train in Beijing.

The South Korean government said the South Korean government was "aware of" related movements "in North Korea, seeking as the train for a few days China.

Beijing is the main ally of secret and isolated North Korea, as well as its biggest trading partner.

Kim Jong Un might be in town.

Searches on Baidu News, China's Equivalent of Google News, The Chinese Times newspaper, China.

One of the paper's reports showed from Kim Jong Un's train in China.

Kim Jong Un was in China, some citing family members in the Chinese border city of Dandong where the main train link between the two countries is located.

The North Korean leader is due to hold separate summits with South Korea in late April and the United States in May, including a potential meeting with Trump.

"The fact that the summits are being held beyond our expectations. Right now, the situation surrounding the Korean peninsula is moving rapidly and it would be inadvisable to think with prejudice, "the Blue House official said.

Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, met then-president Jiang Zemin in China in 2000 before a summit between the two Koreas in June that year.

Kim Jong Il was considered close to the North's biggest ally.

"North Korea probably wants to confirm its relationship with China and it has some leverage with which to ask for things from China," said Yoo Ho-yeol, Professor of North Korean Studies at Seoul's Korea University.

"If North Korea speaks with the United States, it may be a bad thing, but it may be China as an ally, Pyongyang may "Yoo said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard to BEIJING and Christine Kim to SEOUL; Additional reporting by Heekyong Yang in SEOUL and John Walcott in WASHINGTON; Editing by Paul Tait


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