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N. Korea’s Kim asked China’s Xi to help lift sanctions: report

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FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Beijing, China, in this undated photo released June 20, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has appealed to China’s Xi Jinping to help end sanctions against Pyongyang following his landmark summit with US President Donald Trump, a Japanese newspaper reported yesterday, citing multiple unnamed sources in the two countries.

Mr Kim made the request during his third meeting with Mr Xi in Beijing last month, and the Chinese president promised to do his “utmost” to satisfy it, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said.

“We are feeling great pain due to economic sanctions. Now that we have concluded the US-North Korea summit in success, I want (China) to work toward early lifting of the sanctions,” Mr Kim reportedly told Mr Xi.

Mr Kim chose Beijing – his main economic patron and diplomatic protector – for his first official foreign trip in March and met Mr Xi again in May.

Mr Kim asked Mr Xi to help ease the sanctions that have crippled North Korea’s economy, and urged China to back Pyongyang in its denuclearisation talks with Washington, the report said.

Mr Xi in turn told Mr Kim he “actively supports North Korea’s reform and opening-up and will proactively cooperate with issues associated with the efforts”, according to the Yomiuri.

Mr Kim’s third official visit to China was seen as a move to reassure Beijing that Pyongyang would not neglect its interests after the historic summit with Mr Trump in Singapore. China and the US both hope to see the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

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