Korea's ruling party leader makes efforts towards peaceful solution

He later expressed his expectation for the dispatching of the Chinese envoy by tweeting: "A big move, we'll see what happens!"

During his visit, Song was widely expected to try to ease the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

This photo, provided by The Associated Press on November 17, 2017 shows Song Tao, a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Choe Ryong-hae, a senior North Korean party official, in Pyongyang.

North Korea has been under a raft of crippling United Nations sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear tests as well as multiple rocket and missile launches.

But experts doubt Song's visit will yield major breakthroughs.

A Chinese special envoy has stressed an important of "steadily" developing friendly ties between China and North Korea during his trip to Pyongyang, the North's state media said Saturday. In his discussions with North Korea's senior official Choe Ryong-hae, Song briefed him about the latest political change taking place in China where Xi has been re-elected as the chief of CPC's central committee.

North Korea's last missile test was on September 15 but Lee and Yun did not seem to put much emphasis on the lull, Yonhap said, as they were unable to gauge its intentions.

Russia president Vladimir Putin
GETTY WAR Russia president Vladimir Putin is a major player in the Korean crisis

"Song Tao informed in detail of the 19th National Congress of the CPC", the KCNA report said.

Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged messages of congratulations and thanks over the Chinese party congress, but neither leader has visited the other's country since assuming power.

After arriving, Mr Song met with Choe Ryong-hae, a vice chairman of the ruling party and one of the most senior leaders after Mr Kim.

The two sides "exchanged their views on such matters of mutual concern as the situation of the Korean Peninsula and region and bilateral relations", reported the KCNA that day.

Trump met with Xi in Beijing earlier this month and called on China to do more to rein in its neighbor.

"Song is not a magician", the newspaper said in an editorial Friday. "The key to easing the situation in the peninsula lies in the hands of Washington and Pyongyang".

The trip comes about a week after US President Donald Trump held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing as part of his 5-nation tour of Asia and said they agreed to "increase economic pressure until North Korea abandons its reckless and unsafe path". "If both sides insist on their own logic and refuse to move in the same direction, even if Song opens a door for talks, the door could be closed anytime".

  • Jon Douglas