A step forward as China 'special envoy' to travel to North Korea

Mr. Lee bitterly regrets that he left his family behind when he defected in 2015

Beijing, Nov 15 China will send a special envoy to North Korea on Friday, the state-run media said today, days after US President Donald Trump visited Beijing and urged his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to act fast to rein in Pyongyang.

Mr Kim has never visited China, and Mr Xi has not visited North Korea since he became president.

The announcement did not mention Trump or the U.S.

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For his part, Xi repeated his plea for the issue to be resolved through negotiations, saying China was ready to discuss the "pathway leading to enduring peace and stability on the peninsula".

"China can fix this problem easily and quickly, and I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard", Trump said alongside Xi last Thursday.

Song would be the first ministerial-level Chinese official to visit North Korea since October 2015 when Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan visited Pyongyang and met with Kim.

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It's tradition for China to give briefings to allies after the congress, but the timing may have some kind of message to convey to North Korea. China has implemented United Nations sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile tests. "It remains to be seen whether that will be part of China's diplomatic strategy or is meant to send a message to the North on its nuclear and missile programs".

The last time China's special envoy for North Korea visited the country was in February past year.

On Tuesday, Yun told reporters in Seoul that he does not know why the North has halted its provocations as Pyongyang has not communicated with the U.S.in that regard, but he urged the North to stay provocation-free "for a period of time", adding that it would be a "good start".

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