Chinese diplomat pays a visit to PyongyangAn official at China’s foreign ministry recently visited Pyongyang, a source in Beijing said Tuesday, stoking further speculation about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s imminent visit to North Korea.
Recent media reports said that Xi plans to visit North Korea around Sept. 9 to attend a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the communist state’s founding.
According to the source, a Chinese deputy assistant foreign minister recently contacted North Korean officials in Pyongyang.
“It is known that a Chinese official entered North Korea. The visit drew attention due to its sensitive timing,” the source said.
A Singaporean newspaper reported last week that Xi will visit Pyongyang in early September at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to celebrate the anniversary of the North’s founding.
China’s foreign ministry neither confirmed nor denied the report and only stressed the friendship between Beijing and Pyongyang.
On Aug. 14, a Chinese youth choir visited North Korea for a performance in Pyongyang, while China’s ambassador to the North, Li Jinjun, stressed bilateral cooperation and friendship during his tour of a North Korean province on Aug. 10-11.
Watchers here raise speculation that Xi may travel to Pyongyang after presiding over a China-Africa cooperation forum summit in Beijing on Sept. 3-4. They say Xi’s Pyongyang visit, if realized, would come shortly before the Sept. 9 founding anniversary, as the Chinese leader may refrain from standing next to Kim during the North’s celebratory military parade on the anniversary day.