BEIJING/TOKYO -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed how their countries could jointly push for talks regarding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, state media reported on Thursday.
"The two leaders communicated deeply and candidly on jointly studying and steering the Korean Peninsula's political situations and denuclearization process," according to North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency.
Xi told Kim that Beijing and Pyongyang have "displayed the resolute determination to jointly advance the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue," according to China's Xinhua News Agency.
The reports came a day after Kim concluded an unannounced two-day trip to China. The summit, which took place in Beijing, was the fourth meeting between Kim and Xi in less than a year. It came about a week after U.S. President Donald Trump said he expects to meet soon with the North Korean leader for a second time. The first Trump-Kim meeting took place in Singapore in June. The occasion marked the first summit between the two countries' leaders.
On Wednesday in Beijing, Kim vowed to work toward a second summit with Trump and achieve a breakthrough. North Korea will "make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and U.S. leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community," Kim was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
"The DPRK will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation," Kim said.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK, is the official name for North Korea.
Xi voiced support for the continued U.S.-North Korea dialogue and signaled his country's willingness to play a more active role to facilitate the negotiations. "Political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue faces a rare, historic opportunity," Xi was quoted as saying by Xinhua. The Chinese president said he hopes Kim and Trump can meet each other halfway as they plan a second summit.
Kim also pressed for a breakthrough in the negotiations with the U.S. and hinted at the need for Washington to take conciliatory steps, such as easing economic sanctions and concluding a peace treaty to bring a formal end to the 1950-1953 Korean War.
The North Korean said he hopes the relevant sides take Pyongyang's "legitimate concerns" seriously and jointly push for "a comprehensive resolution on the Korean Peninsula issue."
In his New Year address at the presidential Blue House on Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in told reporters that "Kim's visit to China is a signal that shows the second North Korea-US summit is imminent.... The first North Korea-US summit was ambiguous. I expect the second meeting should have clearer agreements on detailed actions."
However, Moon also noted that the "denuclearization process will require demolition of the Yongbyon nuclear complex, ICBMs and IRBMs as well as production lines for them."
A U.S. research group on Wednesday reported that North Korea is keeping its nuclear facilities active despite its talk of denuclearization. According to 38 North, a group that monitors North Korea, all nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, remain active, with signs of the uranium enrichment plant being in operation.
The group, based on its own analysis of satellite imagery, added that it is impossible to determine whether the plant is actually being fed with uranium for enrichment processing. Enriched uranium is a key component of nuclear weapons.
South Korea does not possess nuclear arms, nor does the U.S. have any based in the country. It is thought that Kim's talk of "denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula" includes eliminating any nuclear threat to the peninsula.