North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will make a two-day visit to Beijing starting on Tuesday following his groundbreaking summit with President Donald Trump in Singapore last week, Chinese state media said.
Security was tight on Tuesday morning at the Beijing airport where paramilitary police prevented journalists from shooting photos.
A motorcade including sedans, minibuses, motorcycles and a stretch limo with a golden emblem was seen leaving the airport in vehicles that were not apparently carrying flags.
The state media reports did not say if Mr Kim had already arrived in Beijing.
Roads near the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where senior Chinese officials meet with visiting leaders, were being closed ON Tuesday morning and a motorcade with motorcycle escorts was seen heading into the compound.
A ring of police vehicles and unmarked cars surrounded the perimeter of the guesthouse where Mr Kim stayed on his first visit earlier this year.
Mr Kim has made two recent visits to China, North Korea’s main ally and key source of trade and economic assistance.
Following his summit with Mr Trump, Mr Kim was expected to meet with Chinese leaders to discuss progress in halting his country’s missile and nuclear weapons programmes in exchange for economic incentives.
China did not announce past visits by North Korea’s leader until Mr Kim returned home.
The Singapore meeting resulted in a surprise announcement of a US suspension of military drills with its South Korean ally, a goal long pursued by Beijing and Pyongyang. That move is seen as potentially weakening defences and diplomatic ties among US allies in Asia, while bolstering rivals such as China and Russia.
The US has stationed combat troops in South Korea since the Korean War, in which China fought on North Korea’s side, ended in 1953 with an armistice and no peace treaty.
The more than 28,000 US forces serve as a military tripwire against North Korean aggression.
The next major exercise with South Korea is known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian; last year’s version was held for 11 days in August and involved about 17,500 US troops.