North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Beijing Tuesday for their first face-to-face talks since Kim's historic summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.
The two leaders held a bilateral meeting after a welcoming ceremony for the North Korean leader, which included a crowd of jubilant children jumping up and down and waving Chinese flags.
At their third meeting in as many months, Xi lavished praise on the younger man for his handling of the US meeting, according to Chinese state media CCTV.
Xi said he was very pleased both with the results of Kim's Singapore talks as well as North Korea's future goal of economic development.
According to state media, the two men agreed they wanted to further deepen the already-close ties between Pyongyang and Beijing in the months ahead.
After their talks, the two leaders then joined their wives for a banquet hosted in Kim's honor.
China's Foreign Ministry had announced Kim's visit to the Chinese capital earlier on Tuesday but hadn't provided any details of his schedule or when he would meet Xi.
Analysts had been expecting Kim to visit China to brief Xi following the meeting with Trump, the first between a North Korean leader and serving US President.
Kim did not leave his country for the first six years of his rule, even to visit with China, North Korea's only real ally. But he made a surprise visit to Beijing in late March and to the northeastern city of Dalian in May.
Geng Shuang, a spokesperson with China's Foreign Ministry, confirmed the visit at a news conference Tuesday hours after it was announced on Chinese state media.
"We hope this visit will help further deepen bilateral ties, strengthen strategic communication on major issues between the two sides, and promote peace and stability in the region," Geng said.
It is rare for state media from either Beijing or Pyongyang to announce a trip by North Korea's leader ahead of time or as it is happening. Kim's other trips to China this year were revealed after the visits were completed.
By announcing the visit as it is happening, Kim is attempting to "'normalize' the way he is viewed by the international community," said Evans Revere, a senior director with the Albright Stonebridge Group and former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the State Department.
A police-escorted motorcade was spotted on Beijing's Chang'an Avenue, which runs past Tiananmen Square and near the Great Hall of the People.
It still hasn't been confirmed how Kim arrived in the country, whether by rail or by plane.
On his March visit, Kim took his family's armored train to the Chinese capital. North Korean state media aired pictures of Kim inside the luxurious train car made famous by his father, who was reportedly afraid of flying.
Kim flew for his second meeting with Xi in Dalian.