14:25 GMT29 October 2020
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    Chinese President Xi Jinping told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who is visiting his country, that he hopes North Korea and the US will "meet each other halfway" in their next round of negotiations, Xinhua reported Thursday.

    Kim, who is spending his 35th birthday touring northern China, met with Xi in Beijing "In a cordial, friendly atmosphere" and discussed "China-DPRK relations and issues of common concern, and reached important consensus," Chinese news agency Xinhua reported. Xi told Kim that he sees a "rare, historic opportunity" for a Korean peninsula settlement.

    The region has been split since 1953 by a heavily fortified demilitarized zone, put up after three years of brutal war between the US and South Korea on one side, and North Korea and China on the other, ground to a stalemate. Militarization has been the order of the day ever since, with tens of thousands of US troops stationed in South Korea and the North pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in the interests of guaranteeing its security, despite international condemnation.

    The year 2018 was a historic one for South Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and the US. The year began with the two Koreas marching under a joint banner at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, saw an end-of-war declaration by Kim and his counterpart, South Korean President Moon Jae In, and the relaxation of tensions along the DMZ to historic lows, including the resumption of border traffic.

    It also saw Kim meeting in Singapore with US President Donald Trump, where the two hammered out a framework for denuclearization and demilitarization of the Korean peninsula. However, as progress has stalled in the six months since that summit, Trump and Kim are exploring the logistics of a second meeting.

    Kim told Xi Thursday he hopes that meeting will achieve "results," Xinhua noted.


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    peace, summit, meeting, negotiations, Xinhua News Agency, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, Beijing
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