North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said his country is waiting for a desired response in stalled nuclear talks with the United States.
Mr Kim’s comments were reported by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pyongyang.
The broadcaster reported Mr Kim saying: “North Korea would like to remain patient, but it hopes the relevant party will meet halfway with North Korea to explore resolution plans that accommodate each other’s reasonable concerns.”
Mr Xi’s two-day trip to North Korea, the first by a Chinese president in 14 years, raises the possibility that China could help break an impasse in talks between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons.
Describing the issue as “highly complex and sensitive”, Mr Xi said his government was willing to play a constructive role in the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
“The international community expects the US and North Korea to continue to talk and achieve results,” he said, according to CCTV.
The summit comes as both Mr Xi and Mr Kim are locked in separate disputes with the United States — Mr Xi over trade and Mr Kim over his nuclear weapons.
With the Chinese leader due to meet US President Donald Trump next week in Japan, analysts say Mr Kim may ask Mr Xi to pass on a message that could revive the talks with America.
Mr Xi’s state visit to North Korea was announced three days ago and began with the synchronised pomp of all major events in the country.
Mr Xi, his wife Peng Liyuan and senior Chinese officials were greeted with a 21-gun salute and about 10,000 cheering people at an arrival ceremony at Pyongyang’s airport.
CCTV showed Mr Xi and his wife waving to the crowd after emerging from the Air China plane, then being greeted by Mr Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, receiving flowers and watching troops march by.
North Korean media had yet to report on Mr Xi’s arrival.
Nuclear talks between the US and North Korea broke down after a summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump in February in Vietnam ended in failure.
The US is demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons development before international sanctions are lifted.
North Korea is seeking a step-by-step approach in which moves toward denuclearisation are matched by concessions from the US, notably a relaxation of economic sanctions.
According to CCTV, Mr Kim told Mr Xi on Thursday: “Over more than a year, the North Korean side has taken many positive measures to avoid escalation of the situation and manage and control the peninsular situation, but it hasn’t received an active response from the relevant party.”
Experts say Mr Xi will likely endorse North Korea’s calls for an incremental disarmament process.