China to send special envoy to North Korea

Xi Jinping is dispatching his "special envoy" to North Korea, days after the Chinese president held talks with Donald Trump on Pyongyang's military build-up last week.

Mr Trump said in Beijing last week that the world must "act fast" to confront Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons.

China has repeatedly pushed for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, but in recent months has had only limited high-level exchanges with North Korea. But neither the White House or Beijing gave any indication of whether China would go further than the latest round of United Nations Security Council sanctions which are estimated to cut US$1 billion from North Korea's foreign revenue when they come into full effect in January. However, it's believed that China's new nuclear point man also has not yet visited North Korea in this role.

U.S. officials want Chinese authorities to clamp down on unauthorised trade that they say is still trickling across the North Korean border. Trump has said that China should do more to rein in its wayward neighbor.

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For his part, Xi repeated his plea for the issue to be resolved through negotiations, saying China was ready to discuss the "pathway leading to enduring peace and stability on the peninsula".

Song would be the first ministerial-level Chinese official to visit North Korea since October 2015 when Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan visited Pyongyang and met with Kim.

On Sunday, Trump said Xi stated that "he is upping the sanctions against" North Korea, but he did not provide details and China has not announced any new punitive measures.

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