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China sending envoy to North Korea after Trump's Beijing visit

15 November 2017

The official Xinhua News Agency said, "The director of the ruling Communist Party's International Liaison Department, Song Tao, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday to report on the party's national congress held last month".

The announcement came a day after the end of Trump's five-nation tour of Asia, during which the USA leader held meetings with Xi and urged him to act fast to rein in North Korea, warning that "time is quickly running out".

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

"And hopefully China will act faster and more effectively on this problem than anyone", he said.

Song would become the first high-level Chinese official to visit North Korea since October 2015, when a member of the Communist Party Politburo committee met with Kim.

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As tensions have surged China has backed a series of United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang and imposed banking restrictions on North Koreans, putting the Cold War-era allies at odds.

During his visit to Beijing, Mr Trump asked Mr Xi to "work very hard" on North Korea.

Chinese banks have stopped dealing with North Korea after the USA unilaterally sanctioned the Bank of Dandong.

"China seems to have been working on mending ties with its neighbors before and after the 19th party congress", said Kim Han-kwon, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

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 that regard, but he urged the North to stay provocation-free "for a period of time", adding that it would be a "good start".