Rock blasts cause quake near China-North Korea border

Xi Jinping will be the first president of China to visit North Korea in 14 years

Xi Jinping will be the first president of China to visit North Korea in 14 years

The quake happened at the same hour that Chinese official media reported Chinese leader Xi Jinping will travel to North Korea later this week to meet with its leader, Kim Jong Un.

But this week's visit marks the first time a Chinese leader has traveled to North Korea in more than a decade, and it coincides with the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Beijing in January.

South Korea's presidency said it hoped the visit would contribute to the resumption of talks over denuclearisation.

China, the North's main benefactor, has urged the two sides to return to the negotiating table after a second Trump-Kim summit collapsed in late February without a deal due to major differences over the scope of North Korea's denuclearization and potential sanctions relief by the U.S.

The two-day visit was prompted by an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to China's Xinhua News Agency. Last month, North Korea launched short-range missiles and other weapons that landed in the sea.

"From a North Korean perspective, it's time for Chairman Xi to visit", said John Delury, an expert on US-China relations and Korean Peninsula affairs at Yonsei University in Seoul.

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-North Korea summits alongside President Donald Trump.

The AFP news agency said authorities thought a "suspected explosion was triggered by an earthquake".

Kim met Russian leader Vladimir Putin earlier in May after multiple meetings with Trump, Xi and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

North Korea received extensive support from China, along with the Soviet Union, when the recently-formed communist state went to war in the early 1950s with its neighbor, South Korea, which was backed by the USA and its worldwide allies.

At the same time, China has expressed wariness about North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons and has voted alongside the U.S.in enforcing global sanctions against the secretive, militarized state. The tremor was far smaller than the aftershock from North Korea's last underground nuclear test.

Zhang was, however, intriguingly downbeat on the possibility of China breaking United Nations sanctions against North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

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