Wednesday, July 24, 2019 Elyria 61°

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China’s Xi to send top ally to North Korea anniversary

  • China-North-Korea-Xi

    Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, speaks to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Dalian in northeastern China's Liaoning Province in May. As North Korea celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding on Sunday, the presence - or absence - of Xi could highlight just how much vitality has been restored to ties between Pyongyang and its most powerful backer after a prolonged chill.



BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping is sending a top political ally to attend celebrations of the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding this weekend.

Speculation had swirled over whether Xi would attend the celebrations following three visits to China this year by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The ruling Communist Party’s International Department on Tuesday said Xi would be represented by Li Zhanshu, the party’s third-ranking official and head of the rubberstamp parliament.

While China-North Korea relations have improved this year following a prolonged chill, analysts said a decision by Xi not to travel to Pyongyang would indicate that Beijing expected further actions from Kim.

With China committed to U.N. economic sanctions on the North, it may be looking for real signs of progress toward denuclearization.

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