Kim Jong Un departs Beijing after meetings with Xi Jinping

Kim Jong Un's motorcade heads out on day 2 of China trip

A special train believed to be carrying Kim Jong Un departed Beijing Wednesday after a two-day visit by the North Korean leader to the Chinese capital.

Following their historic meeting in Singapore last June, negotiations have somewhat stalled, as the White House demands that North Korea dismantle its nuclear program first, before the U.S. would lift any of its punitive measures on the country. "If he wants to shift his focus to the development of the economy, he needs China's cooperation", said Mr Lu Chao, a North Korea expert at China's Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

China and Russian Federation, who both wield vetoes on the United Nations Security Council, have called for easing sanctions to reward Kim's move a year ago to halt weapons tests and dismantle some testing facilities.

Kim's trip to China - his fourth in the past 10 months - comes after USA and North Korean officials are thought to have met in Vietnam to discuss the site of the summit.

"China will also introduce some successful experiences to Kim to help North Korea achieve economic transformation and realise the denuclearisation of the peninsula as soon as possible", Mr Lu told AFP.

While North Korea hasn't conducted any launches or detonations in more than a year, it's displayed no real intention of abandoning the programs that are seen as guaranteeing the hard-line communist regime's survival.

Pyongyang and Washington have been struggling to find a breakthrough despite a pledge by Mr Kim at his landmark summit with Mr Trump in Singapore in June to work towards denuclearisation.

The US is refraining from negative comments on Kim's trip because China has been tough on the enforcement of United Nations sanctions against North Korea and trade talks with Beijing are going smoothly, said Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

Trump has pressed ahead with a second summit to resolve the dispute.

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"Kim's basically forecasting uncertainty ahead, implying that things have not progressed with the USA on his terms the way he wanted in the order of the Singapore statement of new relations and a peace regime first", said Duyeon Kim, an adjunct senior fellow in Seoul for the Center for a New American Security.

China also wants the sanctions relaxed and Xi said he "hopes that the DPRK and the United States will meet each other halfway" according to China's state news agency Xinhua, using the initials of the North's official name.

But progress has since stalled with Pyongyang and Washington - which stations 28,500 troops in South Korea - disagreeing over what that means.

Progress has been slow ever since as the North wants sanctions relief, while the U.S. remains firm that sanctions will remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons program.

Xi re-asserted China's importance in the diplomatic process surrounding the Korean peninsula, Xinhua said, quoting him as saying that Beijing stands ready to "play a positive and constructive role in maintaining peace and stability and realizing denuclearization on the peninsula and lasting peace and stability in the region".

"Under the utmost care of Comrade General Secretary, the DPRK-China relations a year ago were elevated to a new height and a new chapter was written", Kim said.

Some analysts say China could use its cooperation on the North Korean issue as a bargaining chip in the United States trade talks.

"The Sino-US trade negotiations are a matter between China and the US".

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