North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is visiting China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korea’s state media has confirmed.
The news follows speculation earlier on Monday that Mr Kim was possibly on his way to China by train.
Mr Kim will be in the country 7-10 January with his wife Ri Sol-ju, North Korean news agency KCNA said.
It comes amid reports of negotiations for a second summit between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump.
The two met last June in what was the first such meeting for a sitting US president.
Mr Kim’s trip to China this week, on board his armoured train and accompanied by several other leading North Korean officials, will be his fourth visit to the country in less than a year.
China is a key diplomatic ally of North Korea and one of the country’s main sources of trade and aid.
Last year, Mr Kim visited the country three times, paying his respects to Mr Xi after not meeting him for more than six years following his rise to power.
The BBC’s Laura Bicker in Seoul says two of the trips, which took place ahead of the historic summits with the South Korean leader Moon Jae-in and Mr Trump, were seen by some as a chance to co-ordinate strategy.
The latest three-day visit, our correspondent says, is likely to fuel speculation that a second US-North Korean summit will take place soon.
Earlier this week, Mr Trump said a location for another meeting between the two would be announced in the not-too-distant-future.
Mr Trump told reporters in Washington DC that “a good dialogue” was taking place with North Korea, but that sanctions on Pyongyang would remain in place.
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