China sends high-level diplomatic envoy to North Korea

China to send special envoy to North Korea

China to send special envoy to North Korea

BEIJING (Reuters) - A senior Chinese diplomat will visit North Korea from Friday as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing said, although it did not say he was planning to discuss North Korea's nuclear and ballistic programs.

China is to send a special envoy to North Korea on Friday, state media reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang October 8, 2017.

For the unversed, Trump has repeatedly called on China to do more to use its influence to pressure North Korea into altering its behaviour. China's support of new UN Security Council sanctions resolutions, the latest on September 11, following the North's sixth nuclear test earlier that month.

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.

On Oct. 25, Kim Jong-un sent a message congratulating Xi on the success of China's party congress. Xi responded by calling for sound and stable ties between Beijing and Pyongyang.

"Song will inform the DPRK of the 19th CPC National Congress and visit the DPRK", it said, referring to the abbreviation of North Korea's full name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The North held its congress a year ago.

"At the same time, China and the DPRK will exchange views on relations between the two parties and the two countries, as well as on other issues of mutual concern", he said.

Song Tao, who heads the International Liaison Department of China's Communist Party, is expected to visit Pyongyang to explain to North Korean officials the results of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which concluded last month, further cementing Xi's power.

"China is now actively making diplomatic efforts", Wang told AFP.

U.S. officials want Chinese authorities to clamp down on unauthorised trade that they say is still trickling across the North Korean border. Song, as president and party leader Xi Jinping's special envoy, will reportedly also carry out a "visit" in addition to delivering the briefing.

On Sunday, Trump said Xi stated that "he is upping the sanctions against" North Korea, but he did not provide details and China has not announced any new punitive measures. While China has backed tougher United Nations sanctions against the country, it also doesn't want to see his regime collapse - a move that could bring a refugee crisis and USA troops on its border.