June 20, 2018 / 9:41 PM / 5 months ago

North Korea, China leaders agree to boost 'strategic, tactical' cooperation: KCNA

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed measures to bolster “strategic and tactical” cooperation between the two countries in a second meeting on Wednesday, the North’s state media said on Thursday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his visit in Beijing, China, in this undated photo released June 20, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. KCNA via REUTERS

The meeting between Kim and Xi came on the North Korean leader’s second and last day of his latest visit to Beijing, where he briefed the Chinese president on his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last week.

They exchanged “serious views” on the present and “new” situation, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

On Tuesday, Kim and Xi were reported by North Korean media to have reached an understanding on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula after discussing the outcome of the U.S.-North Korea summit.

Kim visited an agricultural institute run by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences before meeting Xi on Wednesday, KCNA said, where he observed vegetables being grown inside.

The North Korean leader also visited a traffic control center in Beijing before departing for Pyongyang on Wednesday afternoon, KCNA said. The visits to the two locations were also reported by Chinese media.

Kim has pledged to make the economy in North Korea a priority after he announced the achievement of a long-held ambition to develop nuclear weapons. North Korean media has frequently stressed advancements made in its agricultural and industrial sectors in recent months.

The official China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday ties between the two countries have “radiated new vitality”, and that Kim’s visits to the agricultural and traffic control centers showed the economy was a priority for him.

“Kim’s latest talks with Xi will have reassured him that China stands behind the DPRK as it switches its focus to economic development,” the paper said, using North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In Singapore, Kim lauded the “clean, beautiful and advanced” nation and said he had learned much from the prosperous country.

Reporting by Christine Kim; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by James Dalgleish and Paul Tait

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