North Korea's Kim meets China's Xi, says awaiting US actions

Visitors look through a wire fence decorated with ribbons written with messages wishing for the reunification of the two Koreas at the Imjingak Pavilion, near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Thursday morning for a state visit to North Korea, where he's expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about his nuclear program while negotiations have stalled with Washington. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
In this image made from video, North Korean people and a guard of honor welcome a plane with Chinese President Xi Jinping onboard, on the arrival at an airport in Pyongyang, Thursday, June 20, 2019. The leaders of China and North Korea were talking in the North Korean capital Thursday, with stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington expected to be on the agenda. (CCTV via AP)
In this image taken from a video footage run by China's CCTV, Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, shake hands before their meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Xi and Kim met in the North's capital on Thursday, their fifth meeting in 15 months, with stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington expected to be on the agenda. (CCTV via AP)
North Korean walk on a street where North Korean and Chinese national flags are hoisted in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived Thursday morning for a two-day state visit to North Korea, where he is expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about the stalled negotiations with Washington over North Korea's nuclear weapons. (AP Photo/Cha Song Ho)
The signboard, which reads “Long Live with Unbreakable Friendship and Unity Formed by Blood” in Chinese and Korean language respectively, is displayed in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. The leaders of China and North Korea were talking in the North Korean capital Thursday, with stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington expected to be on the agenda.(Kyodo News via AP)
FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2018 file photo, a man rides his electric bike as the Tower of the Juche Idea is silhouetted agains the sunrise in Pyongyang, North Korea. As Chinese President Xi Jinping makes an official trip June 20, 2019 to North Korea, Beijing is anxious to encourage North Korea's self declared shift away from nuclear confrontation toward economic development. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)
Chinese visitors look toward the North's side at the Imjingak Pavilion, near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Thursday morning for a state visit to North Korea, where he's expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about his nuclear program while negotiations have stalled with Washington. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
In this image taken from a video footage run by China's CCTV, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, walk together on Xi's arrival at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. The leaders of China and North Korea met in the North's capital on Thursday, their fifth meeting in 15 months, with stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington expected to be on the agenda. (CCTV via AP)
In this image taken from a video footage run by China's CCTV, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, front right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, front left, walk together on Xi's arrival at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. The leaders of China and North Korea met in the North's capital on Thursday, their fifth meeting in 15 months, with stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington expected to be on the agenda. (CCTV via AP)
A street is decorated with flags of North Korea and China in central Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. The leaders of China and North Korea met in the North's capital on Thursday, their fifth meeting in 15 months, with stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington expected to be on the agenda.(Kyodo News via AP)
In this image taken from a video footage run by China's CCTV, Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hold a talk in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Xi and Kim met in the North's capital on Thursday, their fifth meeting in 15 months, with stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington expected to be on the agenda. (CCTV via AP)
Visitors take photos toward the North's side at the Imjingak Pavilion, near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Thursday morning for a state visit to North Korea, where he's expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about his nuclear program while negotiations have stalled with Washington. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
In this image taken from a video footage run by China's CCTV, Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, wave as President Xi arrived at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. The leaders of China and North Korea met in the North's capital on Thursday, their fifth meeting in 15 months, with stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington expected to be on the agenda. (CCTV via AP)
A visitor takes photos through a wire fence decorated with ribbons written with messages wishing for the reunification of the two Koreas at the Imjingak Pavilion, near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Thursday morning for a state visit to North Korea, where he's expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about his nuclear program while negotiations have stalled with Washington. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Chinese visitors look toward the North's side at the Imjingak Pavilion, near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Thursday morning for a state visit to North Korea, where he's expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about his nuclear program while negotiations have stalled with Washington. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
South Korean army soldiers look toward the North's side at the Imjingak Pavilion, near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Thursday morning for a state visit to North Korea, where he's expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about his nuclear program while negotiations have stalled with Washington. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
In this photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, people welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, Thursday, June 20, 2019. President Xi arrived in Pyongyang Thursday for a state visit to North Korea. (Pang Xinglei/Xinhua News Agency via AP)
North Korean and Chinese national flags are hoisted on a street in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived Thursday morning for a two-day state visit to North Korea, where he is expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about the stalled negotiations with Washington over North Korea's nuclear weapons. The sign on the building reads "The great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are forever with us." (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
The signboard, which reads "Unbreakable friendship” in Chinese and Korean language respectively, is displayed in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, June 20, 2019. The leaders of China and North Korea were talking in the North Korean capital Thursday, with stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington expected to be on the agenda.(Kyodo News via AP)
A woman walks past North Korean and Chinese national flags hoisted on a street in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, June 20, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived Thursday morning for a two-day state visit to North Korea, where he is expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about the stalled negotiations with Washington over North Korea's nuclear weapons. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

BEIJING — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, meeting in Pyongyang with Chinese President Xi Jinping, said Thursday that his country is waiting for a desired response in stalled nuclear talks with the United States.

"North Korea would like to remain patient, but it hopes the relevant party will meet halfway with North Korea to explore resolution plans that accommodate each other's reasonable concerns," he said, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Xi's trip to North Korea, the first by a Chinese president in 14 years, raises the possibility that China could help break a monthslong impasse in talks between the U.S. and North Korea over the North's nuclear weapons.

Describing the issue as "highly complex and sensitive," Xi said his government is willing to play a constructive role in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"The international community expects the U.S. and North Korea to continue to talk and achieve results," he said, according to CCTV.

The summit comes as both countries are locked in separate disputes with the United States — China over trade and North Korea over its nuclear weapons.

With Xi due to meet President Donald Trump next week in Japan, analysts say Kim may ask the Chinese leader to pass on a message that could revive the talks with the U.S.

Xi's two-day state visit to North Korea, announced just three days ago, began with the synchronized pomp of all major events in the country.

About 10,000 cheering people and a 21-gun salute greeted Xi and senior Chinese officials at an arrival ceremony at Pyongyang's airport.

The CCTV evening news showed Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan waving to the crowd after emerging from their Air China plane, then being greeted by Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju before receiving flowers and watching goose-stepping troops march by.

The crowd stood in tight formations, waving flowers and chanting slogans to welcome Xi. Other people lined the roads and cheered from overpasses as Xi's motorcade traveled to central Pyongyang, where he joined Kim in an open-top vehicle.

Standing in the car, they waved to crowds as they rode to the square where the embalmed bodies of Kim's grandfather and father, the first two leaders of North Korea, lie in state.

The Korean Central News Agency, which is an arm of the North Korean government, said newspapers in the country are praising Xi's visit.

"Newspapers of the DPRK in their editorials on Thursday say that the Korean people warmly welcome with delight Xi Jinping, president of the People's Republic of China, who is coming to the DPRK with the warm friendship feeling of the fraternal Chinese people," the KCNA reported.

Nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea broke down after a second summit between Kim and Trump in February in Vietnam ended in failure.

A series of North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear tests in 2016 and 2017 alarmed the U.S., its Asian allies, Japan and South Korea, and even China. Last year, Kim turned to diplomacy, including his first meeting with Trump in Singapore.

The talks with the U.S. have reached an impasse over a fundamental difference in approach.

The U.S. is demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons entirely before international sanctions are lifted. North Korea is seeking a step-by-step approach in which moves toward denuclearization are matched by concessions from the U.S., notably a relaxation of the sanctions.

"Over more than a year, the North Korean side has taken many positive measures to avoid escalation of the situation and manage and control the peninsular situation, but it hasn't received an active response from the relevant party," Kim told Xi on Thursday, according to CCTV.

Xi is expected to endorse North Korea's calls for an incremental disarmament process.

A commentary in China's official Xinhua news agency said China could play a unique role in breaking the cycle of mistrust between North Korea and the U.S, but that both sides "need to have reasonable expectations and refrain from imposing unilateral and unrealistic demands."

A former North Korean diplomat who defected in 2016 said he thinks Kim wants to give Xi a message to deliver to Trump when the two meet at the upcoming G-20 summit in Japan.

Thae Yong Ho said Kim may offer to abandon some of his nuclear facilities in a bid to set up a third summit with the U.S. president. But he cautioned that such a move would be only to buy time and not to denuclearize fully, as the U.S. is demanding.

"The main purpose for the Kim Jong Un regime in negotiating is to keep North Korea as a new nuclear state in this region, there is no doubt about that," he said at a news conference in Tokyo, where he is promoting the Japanese translation of his book, "Password From the Third Floor," an inside look at North Korean diplomacy and the Kim regime.

China is North Korea's most important foreign partner, though their relations grew somewhat rocky as Kim's efforts to build his country's nuclear weapons capabilities threatened regional stability.

Kim met Xi four times in China as the talks with both the U.S. and South Korea got underway. A banner at the airport welcome ceremony read, "Long Live with Unbreakable Friendship and Unity Formed by Blood."

The nations fought together in the 1950-53 Korean War against the United States, South Korea and their allies. China welcomed Kim's announcement last year that he was shifting the country's focus from nuclear weapons to economic development.

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Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo and researcher Yu Bing in Beijing contributed to this story.

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