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Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping hold high-stakes visit in secret

The leaders of China and North Korea held an unofficial summit this week, waiting until Wednesday to announce it to the world. Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping came face-to-face for the first time in Beijing, Kim first venture abroad since he became North Korea's supreme leader in 2011. Judy Woodruff reports on how both countries have characterized the visit.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In another major development, it has been rumored for days, and now it is confirmed. Kim and Xi have met. The leaders of China and North Korea held an unofficial summit this week, but they waited until today to announce it to the world.

    It was a high-stakes visit shrouded in secrecy. Inside Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China's president Xi Jinping and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un came face to face for the first time. Speculation began Monday, when video surfaced of an armored green train traveling from North Korea to China, but only after the train left on Tuesday did China's state TV broadcast images of Kim meeting with Xi another senior officials.

    North Korea made its own announcement.

  • Woman:

    An historical event that elevates North Korea-Chinese relations to a higher level.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    This was Kim's first venture abroad since he became North Korea's supreme leader in 2011. And his state-controlled media hailed it as a milestone.

  • Woman:

    Dear supreme leader said that he wants to meet President Xi Jinping and other Chinese comrades more often.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    China has long been North Korea's ally and patron, but tensions mounted as Kim built a nuclear arsenal and tested missiles, against Beijing's warnings.

    During the visit, however, Xi and Kim toasted the friendship between their countries. Moreover, Chinese state news quoted Kim as saying, "If South Korea and the United States respond with good will, the issue of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can reach resolution."

    China also said Xi applauded Kim for — quote — "promising changes" in the situation, and offered to help.

  • Lu Kang:

    President Xi highlighted that China will continue with its constructive role, and stands ready to work with all parties, including North Korea.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The next stop on Kim's diplomatic tour is a meeting with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in next month, and then possibly with President Trump in May. Mr. Trump welcomed the prospect on Twitter today.

    He said, "Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong-un will do what is right for his people and for humanity. Look forward to our meeting."

    In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said today the U.S. must address not just North Korea's long-range missiles, but shorter-range missiles that can reach Japan. He also warned North Korea to keep any promises it makes.

  • Shinzo Abe:

    What's important is not dialogue for dialogue's sake, but to achieve nuclear and missile dismantling in a completely verifiable and irreversible way.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But the North's latest concrete action is new cause for concern. Satellite pictures show increased activity at an experimental nuclear reactor site. And, according to reports, another reactor may have resumed producing plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons.

    We will look more in-depth at Kim's meeting with Xi right after the news summary.

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