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Xi Jinping Arrives in North Korea, With Many Eyes on Trump

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in North Korea on Thursday for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un. The occasion is significant not just because it’s the first visit to North Korea by a Chinese leader in 14 years, but also because it takes place at a time of heightened tensions between the China and the United States over trade, and between North Korea and the US over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

The Trump administration expects that Xi will aim to sway Kim toward denuclearization in order to strengthen his bargaining position with US President Donald Trump, with whom he will be meeting next week to discuss the trade dispute. Indeed, Xi stated that he aims to “create conditions for solving the problems on the peninsula.” The Chinese leader even wrote an article for the North Korean state newspaper in which he outlined his willingness to design a “grand plan” together with North Korea in order to “realize permanent peace” on the Korean Peninsula.

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