North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wrapped up his four-day visit to China on Wednesday after holding talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and touring an economic zone, while the USA maintains its silence over the two leaders' meeting.
Kim couldn't be seen, but was presumed to be on board the long train as it crossed on elevated tracks over a busy Beijing street and headed toward eastern China and the border with North Korea.
Kim spent one hour with Xi on Tuesday - believed to be the North Korean leader's birthday - and the two later dined with their wives at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
Kim's visit to North Korea's most important economic and diplomatic ally follows reports of advanced negotiations for a second summit between Washington and Pyongyang aimed at resolving the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
In the morning, Kim visited Tong Ren Tang, located in an economic-technological development zone in Beijing, which is the largest producer of traditional Chinese medicine.
A vehicle in the motorcade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen in Beijing on January 9, 2019.
Kim arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for his fourth visit to Pyongyang's sole major diplomatic friend, reportedly visiting a factory and meeting President Xi Jinping. The North Korean leader said in his New Year's address that he might take a "new path" in negotiations if Trump didn't ease trade, travel and investment restrictions.
"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", Lu told AFP.
In an interview with CNBC on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised China's support for resolving the North Korean crisis and said he did not think the US trade dispute with China would affect this.
Each time Kim visited China past year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang shortly afterward, but the US official seems to have no similar plan this time.
Relations between China and North Korea had deteriorated in recent years over Pyongyang's nuclear activities, but Kim has made sure to keep Xi informed about his dealings with the US and South Korea as ties appear to have warmed.
In his New Year speech, Kim focussed on his country's economy, saying that improving people's lives was his top priority and tackling energy shortages was an urgent task.
While Mr. Trump says he considers Mr. Xi key to enticing Mr. Kim into taking concrete steps toward denuclearization, the president's own relationship with his Chinese counterpart has frayed over the U.S.
The visit coincided with negotiations between United States and Chinese officials in Beijing to resolve a bruising trade war between the world's two biggest economies.
Details of his visit weren't released, but Yonhap said Kim met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Meanwhile, Cheong Wa Dae said it hopes Kim's visit to China "lays the groundwork" for a second U.S.
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.