Top Chinese envoy on North Korea visit, Donald Trump hails 'big move'

Top Chinese envoy on North Korea visit, Donald Trump hails 'big move'

Song Tao, the most senior Chinese official to visit Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, in two years, was officially tasked with briefing the government on China's recent party congress.

The report said Song told his hosts China wanted to "develop the traditional friendly relations between the two parties and countries" but contained no further details of what was discussed.

In July, North Korea successfully launched the country's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which had the capability of reaching the United States territory. Also on November 18, Song paid visits to Mangyongdae Revolution School - an elite educational institution in North Korea - and the Ryuwon Footwear Factory, where Kim gave on-the-spot guidance in October after recent renovations.

The unusual inspection was reportedly led by Choe Ryong-hae, the vice chairman of the Central Committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party.

Moreover, the NIS said that Tunnel 3 of the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site is now available for a test, while the North has recently resumed construction on Tunnel 4 at the same facility.

'Kim Jong Un runs a global criminal operation from North Korea pedalling arms, pedalling drugs, engaged in cyber-crime and of course threatening the stability of region with his nuclear weapons, ' Mr Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

Geng gave scant details about the trip, saying he did not know who he would meet or what topics he would discuss. Washington has been making efforts to bring Pyongyang to dialogue for denuclearization, despite the isolated regime's reluctance to abandon its nuclear drive.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 16, 2017.

"Song is not a magician", the newspaper said. "The key to easing the situation in the peninsula lies in the hands of Washington and Pyongyang".

The trip came a week after US President Donald Trump urged Beijing to do more to rein in its Cold War-era ally, warning that time was quickly running out to resolve the crisis.

Meanwhile, Seoul's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is scheduled to embark on a trip to Beijing to meet with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the Foreign Ministry here said Monday.

Relations between China and South Korea have also been strained by the nuclear crisis, with Beijing angry at Seoul for hosting a U.S. missile defence system. The meeting will lay the foundation for the upcoming bilateral summit between Presidents Moon and Xi, and address issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula and concerning both nations, it added.