Kim Jong Un pays another visit to China

Thae Yong-ho who fled his post as North Korea's deputy ambassador to Britain in August 2016

Thae Yong-ho who fled his post as North Korea's deputy ambassador to Britain in August 2016 Credit JUNG YEON-JE AFP

China is the isolated, nuclear-armed North's key diplomatic ally and main source of trade and aid, and Kim visited three times previous year to pay his respects to leader Xi Jinping. The North Korean leader warned in a New Year's speech that Pyongyang may change its approach to nuclear talks if Washington persists with sanctions.

Although it's presently unclear what talking points the meeting will include, this latest get together comes amid reports that a second summit is in the works between Kim and US President Donald Trump.

Reports of the North Korean leader's possible trip to China come after USA and North Korean officials are believed to have met in Vietnam to discuss the location of a second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile South Korea's Hankyoreh newspaper, citing an unidentified source with close knowledge of North Korea-China affairs, reported that Kim was travelling on the train to Beijing late on Monday to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing an unspecified source familiar with North Korean issues, said that a North Korean train possibly carrying a "high-level" official had crossed the border into China at 10.15pm.

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The Yonhap source said it had not been confirmed whether a senior official was on board, but that dozens of security vehicles and officials had blocked the roads around a station in Dandong as the train passed. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency.

"We are negotiating a location", he told reporters. On Wednesday, Trump said he received "a great letter" from Kim, though he did not reveal the content.

"It will be announced probably in the not-too-distant future".

The North reacted angrily last month when the United States slapped fresh sanctions on three senior officials, after a report revealed a raft of human rights abuses.

Culminating in late 2017, the North has carried out six atomic blasts and launched rockets capable of reaching the entire USA mainland, but has now carried out no such tests for more than a year.

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