High-level Chinese envoy heads to North Korea amid chill

BEIJING (AP) — China is sending its highest-level envoy to North Korea in two years amid a prolonged chill in relations.

The visit by Song Tao planned to begin Friday follows President Donald Trump’s trip to Beijing last week, during which he called on China to use its influence to convince Pyongyang to cease its nuclear weapons program.

State media say Song, who heads the ruling Communist Party’s International Department, will report on the outcomes of the party congress held last month and visit his counterparts. China has given no other details about his itinerary or whether he’ll meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

China’s relations with North Korea have deteriorated under Kim, who has ignored Beijing’s calls to end nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests and return to disarmament talks.