High-Ranking North Korean Official May Be in China, Kyodo Says


(Bloomberg) -- A high-ranking North Korean official may be visiting China, Japan’s Kyodo News said late Monday, citing unidentified people close to the matter.

A special train may have carried the official through the northeastern Chinese border city of Dandong, the news agency said, citing the people. Nippon TV showed footage earlier of a train arriving in Beijing earlier Monday that looked similar to one used by Kim Jong Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong Un.

Kim Jong Un isn’t known to have left North Korea since becoming leader in 2011. His father visited China shortly before his death the same year.

The report follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision this month to grant an unprecedented meeting to Kim, after the North Korean leader said he’d be willing to discuss giving up his nuclear weapons program. Diplomats from the U.S., North Korea and its neighbors have since been shuttling across the globe to prepare for the visit.

Kim was expected to first meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in near their shared border next month, in a prelude to the potential summit with Trump.

Ties between China and North Korea -- neighbors and allies during the Cold War -- have been strained as China backed progressive rounds of United Nations sanctions against the country’s weapons program.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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