North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has held a surprise second summit in two months with China's president Xi Jinping, meeting his country's staunchest ally ahead of a planned forthcoming summit with United States president Donald Trump.
"The two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest, including recent developments on the Korean peninsula and President Xi's meeting today with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un", according to the White House announcement.
"I will be speaking to my friend, President Xi of China, this morning at 8:30", Trump said in a Twitter posting, adding, "The primary topics will be Trade, where good things will happen, and North Korea, where relationships and trust are building".
"China supports North Korea's upholding of denuclearisation on the peninsula, and supports North Korea and the United States resolving the peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation", Xi said.
Noting that this was Kim's second trip to China in just over 40 days, Xi praised the state of "strategic communication" between China and North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Speculation was ripe on Monday and Tuesday that Kim may have visited the Chinese city amid tightened security in Dalian, with Japanese media reporting that an airplane normally used by North Korean VIPs had arrived in Dalian. The official is believed to be greeting, or have greeted, the North Korean official. It said although the US has stressed time again on the direct talks between US President Donald Trump and Kim yet its unpredictability makes it necessary to be prepared for the worst scenario.
He argues that the harsh regulations pushed North Korea towards neighboring allies. A North Korean official on the Korean Central News Agency referred to the situation, stating "This act can not be construed otherwise than a unsafe attempt to ruin the hard-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one".
Last week, a seven-member US delegation returned to Washington and briefed Trump on their meeting with Chinese counterparts.
Intense secrecy typically surrounds high-level North Korean visits to China, and this week's trip was no different.
For his part, Kim could be trying to improve ties with Xi - which have been frosty, to put it mildly - in case his outreach to Trump falls flat, analysts say.
According to the Xinhua report, Kim said he made a decision to meet Xi again to "inform him of the situation, hoping to strengthen strategic communication and cooperation with China, deepen DPRK-China friendship, and promote regional peace and stability".
In March, Kim travelled by train to Beijing, his first known trip overseas since assuming power in 2011.
Chinese internet users posting on social media described heavy security in the city and extensive flight delays on Monday.
Kim was accompanied to China by his sister, Kim Yo Jong, who has played a leading role in diplomatic overtures by the long-isolated country.
USA officials say Pompeo will also press North Korea for the release of three detained American citizens, whose imminent release Trump has been hinting at. A tug of war between Washington and Pyongyang could easily lead to an aborting of the meeting aimed at denuclearizing North Korea.