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BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping told Kim Jong Un that Beijing backs the North Korean leader’s possible second summit with US President Donald Trump and hopes they ‘meet each other halfway’, state media said Thursday.

The two allies held two days of meetings in Beijing this week, seen as a strategy session as Kim prepares for his second summit with Trump to kick-start stalled denuclearisation talks.

“Political settlement of the (Korean) Peninsula issue faces a rare historic opportunity,” Xi said during Kim’s trip to Beijing, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

China “supports the DPRK and the United States holding summits and achieving results, and supports relevant parties resolving their respective legitimate concerns through dialogue“, Xi said, using the initials of North Korea’s official name.

Discussions between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal have stalled since Kim and Trump’s high-profile first summit in Singapore in June where they issued a vaguely worded declaration about denuclearisation.

The US insists that UN sanctions must remain in place until North Korea gives up its weapons, while Pyongyang wants them immediately eased. China also wants the sanctions to be relaxed.

“China hopes that the DPRK and the United States will meet each other halfway,” Xi said.

He added that China stands ready to play a “positive and constructive role” to maintain peace and stability and achieve denuclearisation on the peninsula.

For his part, Kim said North Korea “will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearisation and resolving the Korean peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation“, Xinhua reported.

The North, Kim said, will “make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and US leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community.”

Trump said Sunday that the United States and North Korea are negotiating the location of their next summit.–AFP/nst

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