China's Xi Arrives in Seoul for Talks with Park
Chinese President Xi Jinping has begun a two-day state visit to South Korea, a trip seen by many as a snub to Beijing's historical ally, North Korea.
Mr. Xi's talks with South Korean President Park Geun-hye are expected to be dominated by concerns over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
In the past week, the North has fired several short-range rockets off its east coast, in what some view as a sign Pyongyang is unhappy with Mr. Xi's visit.
His trip marks the first time a Chinese president has visited South Korea before North Korea. It is the fifth time Ms. Park and Mr. Xi have met since they took office.
Mr. Xi has not yet met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who took power in 2011.
The visit is also expected to focus on boosting economic ties between Seoul and Beijing, important trading partners that have been negotiating a free trade deal since 2012.
Japan to Lift Some Sanction on North
Japan has agreed to lift some sanctions against North Korea, as the two countries continue talks on Japanese citizens kidnapped by Pyongyang.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday said the move represents the start of a "comprehensive resolution" to the abduction issue. He provided no details on what sanctions would be lifted or when.
Tokyo and Pyongyang this week held talks at North Korea's embassy in Beijing to address the abductions, which have long been a major irritant to bilateral relations. The two countries do not have formal ties.
North Korea acknowledged in 2002 that it abducted 13 Japanese citizens to teach its spies about Japanese culture. Five of the abductees were returned. The North said the rest are dead, but many in Japan suspect at least a dozen more were kidnapped.