North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived on an unannounced visit to Beijing on Tuesday for talks with President Xi Jinping, as preparations ramp up for an expected second summit with US President Donald Trump.
China is the isolated, nuclear-armed North's key diplomatic ally and main source of trade and aid, and the visit is likely to heighten speculation about the potential meeting with the US president, as Kim could coordinate his strategy with Xi.
China's foreign ministry said Kim would meet with Chinese leaders to discuss "relevant issues" but did not reveal more about his itinerary.
The North Korean leader, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol Ju and several senior officials, had set off from Pyongyang on his private train on Monday, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
The trip is at Xi's invitation and set to run until Thursday, according to KCNA and China's official Xinhua news agency.
His fourth visit to China comes a week after Kim warned in a New Year's speech that Pyongyang may change its approach to nuclear talks if Washington persists with sanctions.