Special North Korean train enters China - Yonhap

Leroy Wright
January 8, 2019

South Korean news channel YTN reported early Tuesday morning that Kim Jong-un was on board the train, but no official confirmation yet from China or North Korea's state media outlets.

A special North Korean train entered China late Monday, Yonhap news agency reported, raising speculation that leader Kim Jong Un could be on his way to Beijing.

Mr Trump insisted to reporters outside the White House on Sunday that negotiations were running smoothly.

Dozens of security vehicles and officials blocked the roads around a train station in the Chinese border city of Dandong through which the train passed, according to Yonhap.

Kim - whose birthday is reportedly on Tuesday, although that has never been confirmed by Pyongyang - visited China three times a year ago to pay his respects to Xi.

Kim previously met with Xi in 2018 on three different occasions, which took place before and after the historic meetings with US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae In.

But a whirlwind of diplomacy enveloped the Korean peninsula a year ago, with Kim also meeting the South's President Moon Jae-in three times, and culminating in his high-profile Singapore summit with USA counterpart Donald Trump in June. The closest confirmation came in 2014 when former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman famously sang "Happy Birthday" to the North Korean leader during a visit in Pyongyang.

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High-level talks between the two countries were abruptly canceled in November a year ago at the request of North Korea, while progress on denuclearization talks has stalled since the two leaders' first historic meeting in Singapore in June.

"We're negotiating a location".

"It will be announced probably in the not-too-distant future".

Trump's comments Sunday seem to be a call for North Korea to return to a fresh round of high-level talks, said Shin Bum-cheol, a senior fellow at the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

However, he said the North would be forced to take a different path if the U.S. "continues to break its promises and misjudges the patience of our people by unilaterally demanding certain things, and pushes ahead with sanctions and pressure".

Culminating in late 2017, the North has carried out six atomic blasts and launched rockets capable of reaching the entire United States mainland, but has now carried out no such tests for more than a year.

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