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China up close

Kim Jong Un's 21-car train was packed with gifts and much more

North Korean leader strengthens his hand as he wrestles China away from US

KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer | China

TOKYO -- The president of a country once called Tianchao, Heavenly Dynasty, last month greeted the leader of one of its former tributary states. It was Chinese President Xi Jinping receiving North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

That was the storyline that the Chinese state media wanted to portray, and North Korea was happy to play along. China's state-run Xinhua News Agency said that during the summit Xi referred to Kim as ni, while Kim referred to Xi as nin. Both pronouns mean "you," but nin is more polite and respectful than ni.

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