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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree on the need to implement all United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea. (Nov. 9)
AP

BEIJING – Following President Trump’s visit to Beijing, China said Wednesday that it would send a high-level special envoy to North Korea amid an extended chill in relations between the neighbors over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Song Tao, the head of China’s ruling Communist Party’s International Department, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday to report on outcomes of the party’s national congress held last month, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Xinhua said Song, as president and party leader Xi Jinping’s special envoy, would carry out a “visit” in addition to delivering his report, but gave no details about his itinerary or meetings. It also made no mention of Trump’s trip to Beijing or the North’s weapons programs, although Trump has repeatedly called on Beijing to do more to use its influence to pressure Pyongyang into altering its behavior.

Song would be the first ministerial-level Chinese official to visit North Korea since October 2015, when Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan met with leader Kim Jong Un. Liu delivered a letter to Kim from Xi expressing hopes for a strong relationship, although the respite in frosty ties proved short-lived. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin visited Pyongyang in October of last year.

China’s Communist Party and North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party have long-standing ties that often supersede formal diplomacy, even while Beijing has long been frustrated with Pyongyang’s provocations…