Seoul, Jan 8: South Korea on Tuesday expressed the hope that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's new year summit diplomacy with the Chinese leadership this week will be conducive in de-nuclearising the peninsula and the inter-Korean peace process.
"The government expects that summit and high-level exchanges between the North and China, including a meeting between Chairman Kim Jong-un and President Xi Jinping, will be able to contribute to the complete denuclearization and establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula," Noh Kyu-duk, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press briefing.
South Korea will keep trying to foster the "virtuous cycle" of denuclearization and such diplomatic activities by the Koreas and regional powers, he added.
The North's state media said Kim will be staying in China till Thursday.
In Beijing, a spokesperson of the International Department of the Communist Party Central Committee said that the North Korean leader has come on the invitation of President Xi Jinping. Late on Monday night, a diplomatic source told a South Korean news agency that a special North Korean train, apparently carrying high-profile figures, crossed the border.
It would be Kim's fourth trip to China since he took power in late 2011 and could possibly mark the start of full scale diplomacy in 2019 by Pyongyang and regional powers on denuclearization and a peace vision.
South Korean officials also agreed that Kim's China visit is seen as a prelude to another meeting with US President Donald Trump. (UNI)