Xi to make first official North Korea visit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in North Korea on Thursday for a two-day state visit, his first official trip to the country since he came to power in 2012.

Xi is making the trip “at the invitation” of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Xinhua reported Monday. North Korean state media also confirmed the visit.

The meeting takes place a week before the G20 summit in Japan, where Xi is expected to meet with US President Donald Trump and comes as nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the United States have stalled.

Relations between the two countries had been in a deep chill under the North Korean leader until recently, but an unexpected visit by Kim to Beijing in March 2018 signaled the beginning of a new era of Beijing-Pyongyang relations.

Since then, Xi and Kim have met at least once more in public, with China even lending the young North Korean leader a plane to attend a June 2018 summit with Trump in Singapore.

The Chinese President was originally rumored to be planning a visit to Pyongyang that same month, but the trip never materialized.

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