South Korea says officials may visit North Korea ahead of summit

North Korean guards standing face-to-face at the Joint Security Area, a small strip of land in the truce village of Panmunjom

"Not long ago, President Xi said he is willing to maintain regular contact with Chairman Kim Jong Un through visits, special envoys and the exchange of letters", said spokesman Hua Chunying.

South Korea and North Korea will hold this week talks at a high level, which will determine the agenda of the summit of leaders of the two countries, which is scheduled for April 27.

Kim met Song on Saturday to exchange "deep thoughts" on worldwide issues of concern to North Korea and China and vowed to improve bilateral relations, according to the state media. Song, however, greeted Kim when he arrived in the Chinese border city of Dandong last month. This was announced on Monday, April 16, South Korean TV channel Wai-ti-al government sources, reports "TASS".

The Chinese side will make a final decision after observing the results of the planned US-North summit, according to the Yomiuri.

But in late March, Kim made a visit to Beijing, his first known journey overseas since he took power in 2011.

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Their rapidly warming ties fuel concerns that the global sanctions regime against North Korea might be undermined.

Kim Jong Un hobnobbed with a visiting Chinese ballet troupe as he capped a weekend of celebrations in the North Korean capital that conspicuously lacked a show of military might that marked many previous festivals.

Reclusive North Korea is pursuing nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions and has made no secret of its plans to develop a missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

North Korea's ties with China, its sole major ally, had become strained over the past couple of years over the North's contentious missile and nuclear tests, which China disapproves of. The 2 leaders have agreed to hold their first conversation using the link before their meeting. North Korea might have wanted to increase its leverage ahead of the historic summits, and China might have meant to show that it is still a major player in resolving the North's nuclear standoff.

A successful Moon-Kim summit could help pave the way for the Trump-Kim meeting, which would be the first between a sitting USA president and a North Korean leader.

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