SEOUL , July 2 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's first visit to South Korea this week is seen as a sign of displeasure with North Korea's leadership.
During a two-day visit to Seoul, Xi is expected to discuss matters of economics and North Korea's nuclear program with South Korea President Park Gyun-hye. Tellingly, Xi will not visit Pyongyang, and has never held face-to-face talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Xi and Park will work on the ratification of up to 12 agreements during the visit, and the two countries are negotiating a new free trade agreement, Chinese state television said Wednesday. Chinese government data indicate $270 billion in trade was conducted between the two countries in 2013.
Talks are also expected to focus on China -- the only country globally with any influence over North Korea -- persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.
"Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been an issue among the neighboring countries and international community for a long time. During President Xi's visit there, the two leaders will exchange views on the issue, in particular, the early resumption of the six-party talks," said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.
On Monday, North Korea's state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, called denuclearization "a wild dream that can never be achieved," and North Korea's recent tests of short-range missiles and other airborne "projectiles" could be seen as a reaction to Xi's snub.