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Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Pyongyang 'soon,' official says

Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing to visit the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, an official with knowledge ...

Posted: Apr 18, 2018 12:05 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2018 12:05 PM

Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing to visit the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, an official with knowledge of the discussions told CNN Wednesday.

It would be the Chinese leader's first official visit to North Korea since he came to power as head of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2012.

The official, who didn't want to be identified, said the visit will happen "soon," possibly after the planned summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which is expected to take place in late May or early June.

Relations between North Korea and its long-time ally China have warmed in the past month following a surprise visit by Kim to Beijing in late March, for a meeting with Xi . North Korean state media at the time said that Xi had accepted an invitation to visit Pyongyang during Kim's trip.

It's the latest development in a flurry of diplomacy over recent weeks on the Korean Peninsula. Sources told CNN Tuesday that CIA director Mike Pompeo visited North Korea around April 1 and met Kim to lay the groundwork for the summit with Trump.

Next week Kim will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has led a diplomatic push to engage North Korea, in the demilitarized zone between the two countries.

Russia requests Kim summit

Last week, Song Tao, a high-ranking Chinese official who heads the Chinese Communist Party's International Liaison Department, visited North Korea with a group of Chinese performers.

Kim said Song's visit and the performance by the Chinese ballet troupe were the "fruition of the special intimacy and deep interest" between the two countries, according to North Korean state media KCNA.

According to the official, Song's visit was also intended as an opportunity to discuss Xi's upcoming trip to Pyongyang.

Russia has also requested a personal summit with Kim, the official said, but the North Koreans haven't responded yet.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accepted an invitation to visit Pyongyang during the North Korean Foreign Minister's recent trip to Moscow, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Both countries touted their 70 years of diplomatic relations during the trip, saying their leaders "regularly exchange statements."

Old alliance rekindled

Under Kim, who came to power following his father's death in 2011, the relationship between North Korea and China had cooled.

Kim purged several key officials with close ties to Beijing, including his uncle Jang Song Thaek, and angered China through its provocative missile and nuclear testing, which went against Beijing's goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

But Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, got the red carpet treatment when Kim's armored train pulled into Beijing on March 26, where he was greeted warmly by Chinese officials.

Xi hosted the young North Korean leader and his wife at a grand banquet in the Great Hall of the People.

Both men spoke enthusiastically about relations between the two countries during the visit, according to state media, with Kim quoted as saying he chose China as his first international visit to demonstrate how much he "valued (China's) friendship."

According to the state-run news agency Xinhua, Xi said he wanted to work with Pyongyang to promote relations between the two neighbors.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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Very hot and very humid conditions linger in our area for our Saturday. However, the heat and humidity start to dwindle a bit as we go into our Sunday and beyond. As a matter of fact below normal high temperatures for this time of year.
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