BEIJING, Sept. 3 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's widely expected visit to North Korea this month may not be realized, sources here said Monday, citing the absence of any relevant moves in Beijing.
Last month, newspapers in Singapore and other countries raised speculation that Xi may travel to Pyongyang around Sept. 9 to celebrate North Korea's 70th founding anniversary.
But the Chinese government has not shown any movements regarding Xi's possible trip to the North, the sources said. Moreover, Xi appears to have a busy diplomatic schedule in Beijing in early September.
Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, said in a media briefing that she currently has no information to give about the Chinese leader's attendance at North Korea's founding anniversary events.
When China's president visited North Korea in 2001 and 2005, the official announcement was made a week early. At that time, embassies were given notification three days before the official announcement.
"Considering the practices of the past, Beijing usually made an official announcement of its leader's trip to Pyongyang a week early. For now, the Chinese government appears focused on a China-Africa cooperation forum," a diplomatic source said.
"Due to the stalemate in the North Korea-U.S. talks and other unpredictable factors, it's difficult to give a correct answer on speculation about Xi's North Korea visit," the source said.
The summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which opened in Beijing on Monday, brought together leaders of 53 of Africa's 54 countries, while some countries are planning a state visit to China until Sept. 9. In addition, a state visit by the king of Monaco is slated for Sept. 5-8.
The sources speculate that a ranking Chinese official may travel to North Korea on behalf of Xi, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo postponed his planned visit to Pyongyang last month.
They said if Xi sends an envoy to Pyongyang, Wang Huning, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, will be one of the potential candidates. Wang attended all three summit talks between Xi and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in China this year.
"If somebody visits the North on behalf of Xi, there will likely be an announcement. At present, all possibilities remain open," a source said.
Source: Yonhap News Agency