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China dispatched its highest-level envoy to North Korea in two years on Friday in a bid to improve chilly relations after President Donald Trump last week urged Beijing to pressure Pyongyang to cease its nuclear weapons program.
The visit could be seen as a "starting point to explore new China-North Korea relations," said Lim Eul Chul, a North Korea expert at South Korea's Kyungnam University. Xi wants to take the initiative on the North Korean nuclear issue to head off further pressure from Washington, Lim said.
Donald Trump returned to a favourite subject on Thursday, telling a US coast guard audience the air force was ordering a new plane that was “almost like an invisible fighter”.
He said: “You know, the coast guard, always respected, but if you were looking at it as a brand, there’s no brand that went up more than the coast guard, with what happened in Texas.”
North Korea appears to have replaced all of its guards at a jointly patrolled border area where a North Korean soldier defected last week while being shot at, according to South Korean media.
WATCH: North Korean military shoots and wounds fellow soldier trying to defect to South. The JSA is jointly overseen by the American-led U.N. Command and by North Korea, with South Korean and North Korean border guards facing each other only meters (feet) apart.