Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, is to travel to Pyongyang on Thursday at the invitation of Kim Jong-un, his North Korean counterpart, for two days of discussions about regional issues.
Mr Xi will be the first Chinese leader to visit North Korea for 14 years and analysts suggest that the talks will serve to reinforce the ties between the two long-standing allies as well as send a message to Washington.
Announcing the visit on Monday, Chinese state-run CCTV said: “Both sides will exchange views on the peninsula situation and push for new progress in the political resolution of the issue”.
Media in China and North Korea have reported that the visit coincides with the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two governments, although it also comes conveniently close to Mr Xi’s visit to Japan later this month to take part in the G-20 summit. The Chinese leader is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump at the event, with trade relations and security issues high on the agenda.