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Korea sees no sign of Kim's China trip

Korea has not detected any signs North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is preparing a visit to China, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, commenting on what would be his first foreign trip since taking power.

On Monday, the Korean newspaper AsiaToday reported that the Swiss-educated North Korean leader is expected to make a state visit to China as early as July 27 and no later than Oct. 1. July 27 marks the day the Armistice Agreement was signed to end the 1950-53 Korean War in which China fought alongside the North. Oct. 1 is China's National Day.

"What we can say for now is that no particular movement has been detected," ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said during a regular press briefing. "We are, however, paying close attention to the high-level exchanges between China and North Korea."

In May, North Korea sent a senior official to Beijing in an apparent effort to improve ties that have been strained over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

In his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the official Ri Su-yong reportedly requested an invitation for Kim to visit Beijing.

If realized, the trip would be Kim's first visit to a foreign country since he took control of the North in late 2011 upon the death of his father and then leader Kim Jong-il.

It would also mark a significant step for the isolated regime, which has come under extensive international sanctions for its nuclear and missile development. (Yonhap)


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