China sending envoy to North Korea

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Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy will visit North Korea from November 17, days after President Xi Jinping met with United States President Donald Trump, China's official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.

In a brief dispatch, the official Xinhua news agency said Song Tao, who heads the ruling Communist Party's external affairs department, would leave for North Korea on Friday. Trump has previously criticized China, saying its leaders were not using their influence in Pyongyang to help the USA convince North Korea to tone down its rhetoric and end its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The announcement did not mention Trump or the U.S.

"North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success", the president said in September.

"President Xi of China has stated that he is upping the sanctions against #NoKo".

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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.

Mr Song last visited North Korea 18 months ago.

The Washington Post reported last week that the US North Korea envoy Joseph Yun had said if North Korea stopped firing missiles for 60 days, it would be a signal to resume direct dialogue.

Experts see the Chinese envoy's planned visit to the North as an attempt by Beijing to share the outcome of not just its recent party congress but also that of the summit held between Xi and Trump.