The Latest: China, North Korean leaders hold talks
By Associated Press
Jun 20, 2019 2:34 AM CDT
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South Korean army soldiers look toward the North's side at the Imjingak Pavilion, near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Thursday morning for a state visit to North Korea, where he's expected to talk with leader...  (Associated Press)

BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to North Korea (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

The leaders of China and North Korea are holding talks in the North Korean capital.

China's official Xinhua News Agency said President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sat down for talks Thursday in Pyongyang. It provided no further details.

Xi arrived earlier Thursday for a two-day state visit. He and Kim are expected to discuss the stalled U.S.-North Korean talks on the latter's nuclear weapons program.

Xi is the first Chinese leader to visit North Korea in 14 years.

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3 p.m.

Chinese state media says President Xi Jinping was greeted with a huge arrival ceremony at the start of a two-day state visit to North Korea.

The official Xinhua News Agency says about 10,000 people stood in formation and waved flowers at the airport in Pyongyang on Thursday.

Xi and his wife were met by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife.

A banner read: "Long Live with Unbreakable Friendship and Unity Formed by Blood".

The two communist nations fought together against the United States, South Korea and their allies in the 1950-53 Korean War. They have had close, though sometimes strained, ties since the war.

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1:15 p.m.

A former North Korean diplomat who defected to South Korea says he thinks the North's leader wants China to mediate between Pyongyang and Washington and relay his new proposal to President Donald Trump for a possible third summit.

Thae Yong Ho defected to South Korea while serving in Britain in 2016. He says Kim would want Chinese President Xi Jinping to deliver his message to Trump when they meet at next week's Group of 20 summit in Japan.

Xi is making a two-day state visit to North Korea on Thursday and Friday.

Thae says Kim may propose some compromise on his nuclear facilities to achieve a third summit but such a move would be only to buy time and not to denuclearize.

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11 a.m.

Chinese state media say President Xi Jinping has arrived in North Korea for first visit since taking office in 2013.

The Xinhua News Agency says Xi arrived shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday. During the two-day state visit, he's expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about reviving talks with Washington over North Korea's nuclear weapons.

China's official Xinhua news agency reported that Xi was accompanied by his wife, Peng Liyuan, and several Communist Party officials. He would be the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years.

The summit comes as both Xi and Kim are locked in separate disputes with the United States — Xi over trade and Kim over his nuclear weapons.

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9:30 a.m.

Chinese state media say President Xi Jinping has departed for his state visit to North Korea, which he has said will strengthen the countries' strategic ties.

Xinhua news agency said Xi left Thursday morning and was accompanied by his wife, Peng Liyuan, and several Communist Party officials. He's expected to have talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, including about his nuclear program as talks have stalled with the U.S.

Experts say Xi will likely endorse North Korea's calls for an incremental disarmament process in which every action Pyongyang takes it met with U.S. concessions on sanctions and security issues.

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