Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Chinese and North Korean officials have been holding last-minute meetings ahead of a North Korea sanctions deadline, according to a South Korean press report.
Yonhap's correspondents in China reported Thursday Cui Aimin, director-general of the department of consular affairs at Beijing's foreign ministry, met on Tuesday with North Korean counterpart Ri Kil Ho in Beijing for the 13th round of North Korea-China consular negotiations.
The two sides are coordinating on diplomatic cooperation, the flow of peoples across the border and "protecting the security and legal rights of both peoples," according to the report.
The meeting comes as a deadline for the implementation of a United Nations Security Council sanctions resolution looms for U.N. member states, including China.
Beijing must repatriate all North Korea's state-sanctioned workers by Dec. 22, and submit a final report to the U.N. by March 22.
China is North Korea's biggest and most important trading partner. North Korea earns foreign currency through a network of state-run restaurants in China, including in Shanghai, Shenyang, Beijing and Dandong.
A Yonhap source in Beijing said North Korean waitresses have said they have not been notified about returning home.
Other North Korean workers are taking "visa runs" to the North Korean border city of Sinuiju or the Chinese special administrative region of Macau, when the Chinese government does not extend their work visas, sources said.
Chinese authorities may also be allowing North Korean workers to stay on "official government" passports. With special passports guest workers can stay for a month in China without a visa, according to the report.
China has improved ties with North Korea in recent years. On Thursday its top diplomat met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in as the two countries seek to improve relations.
News 1 reported Thursday Moon told Wang he hopes to achieve a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Seoul in the first half of 2020.
Wang said China condemns unilateralism and "power politics," without mentioning the United States by name.
Seoul and Beijing are mending ties following tensions over the deployment of U.S. missile defense on the peninsula.