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Korean military official likely punished: S. Korea

Korean military official likely punished: S. Korea

As Song wrapped up his trip, South Korea announced that Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha would travel to Beijing on Tuesday to prepare for a December visit by President Moon Jae-In. The visits, particularly the journey of a Chinese envoy to North Korea, which Trump has called a "big move", has raised expectations that efforts toward a diplomatic solution may be gaining some traction.

So far, Chinese officials have been tight-lipped about the trip.

As well as information being more strictly controlled, gatherings involving singing, drinking and entertainment are now banned, the National Intelligence Service reported in a briefing to South Korean lawmakers Monday.

"Song Tao informed in detail of the 19th National Congress of the CPC", the KCNA report said.

It seems like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is not keeping well these days as the country has not launched any ballistic missile since last two months. "Perhaps (the mission) will put a floor under China-North Korea relations, preventing further deterioration".

Recently, pictures of the North Korean leader surfaced on media, which show he has put on weight.

The NIS also reported that the North has been focusing on forestalling a possible negative impact of the tightening worldwide sanctions on public sentiment.

"With such positive signals, envoy Song Tao's visit may bring some positive results", Lu said.

Korean military official likely punished: S. Korea
Korean military official likely punished: S. Korea

Last week, Mr Turnbull urged world leaders to "turn off [the country's] tap" by enforcing United Nations security sanctions to prevent North Korea from illegal fundraising.

Analysts had expected that Song would press North Korean officials on the nuclear standoff, but did not expect any breakthroughs.

This photo, provided by The Associated Press on November 17, 2017, shows Song Tao (R), a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, meeting with Choe Ryong-hae, a senior North Korean party official, in Pyongyang.

But Ahn Chan-il, a head of the World Institute for North Korean Studies, believes the visit is more about putting pressure on Pyongyang.

North Korea was a key focus during President Donald Trump's stop in Beijing. Following the summit, Xi said that China is committed to cooperating with the USA on many major regional and global issues, including North Korea.

"China may have received Trump's messages [more] effectively than at any other time".

"China has virtually no political influence on North Korea". The designation was removed two decades years later after Pyongyang agreed to dismantle its nuclear facilities - a promise it failed to keep.

"The meeting between Kim Jong-un and Song Tao, if realized, could be viewed as a barometer for the North Korea-China relationship and if there is no sign of such interaction by the end of the trip, it means Kim is expressing his discomfort over China's North Korea policy", said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Dongguk University in Seoul.

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